Challenges to successful business partnering

Our research shows that more than 70% of Finance Directors are trying to transform their Finance organisations to add more business value.

Yet 75% are finding it really difficult to deliver benefits from their efforts.  What is it that they’re struggling with?

The barriers depend on many factors, and how far along you are on your business partnering journey.

Just Getting Started?

For your organisation, a crucial hurdle is the need for a shift in mind-sets.   Shifting from inward-facing Finance teams accustomed to only providing financial information, to business-facing Finance teams also influencing business decisions.

Some of your Finance team will have to let go of the traditional accounting props and Excel spread sheets, and to have the self-confidence to challenge and influence business colleagues.

For those beginning their business partnering journey, here are the most common complaints and concerns:

  • We’ve got the wrong people – they are all traditional accountants
  • We’re too busy – there’s no time for business partnering
  • Finance lacks credibility with business colleagues – and we don’t have permission to be partners
  • We’ve got to focus on back-office accounting first – we’ll get to business partnering later
  • Our systems are poor and we lack management information.

If these sound familiar, don’t worry, you’re not alone!

Arcus has helped many, many organisations to overcome these obstacles, using our practical techniques and approaches for business partnering.

From Good to Great

For those companies that began the journey a little while ago, and are looking to go from ‘Good to Great’, the challenges are quite different.

Success is much more dependent on making business partnering scalable and going beyond having just a handful of experienced partners who have ‘natural style’, experience and self-confidence.

These are the most common complaints and concerns for this group of companies:

  • Developing capabilities for Advanced business partnering skills – traditional training courses are not normally successful at this level
  • Developing tools for business decision support – not just finance decisions
  • Creating a sizeable team of successful business partners – with cross-Finance career paths
  • Measuring and demonstrating the value of business partnering with your business colleagues
  • Getting bogged-down in lower-value adding activities – learning when and how to say ‘No’ to your business colleagues.

So Ask Yourself:

  • Are you clear which are the biggest hurdles in your company?
  • Are you looking at symptoms or root causes of the hurdles?
  • Do you know what you need to do to tackle the hurdles in a practical way that will work?

We often conduct assessments for Finance Directors to identify the biggest barriers to successful business partnering in their organisation and what to do to overcome these barriers.  If you’d like a conversation about your barriers and challenges please get in touch.

Adrian Willmott,
Managing Director, Arcus Consulting
e:  adrian.willmott@arcusc.com
t: +44 (0) 207 608 5096

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