How to measure the value of finance business partnering

A high-performing finance business partner, or a team of partners, should deliver business value of at least 20-30 times their costs, particularly in commercial finance.

Clearly this metric will vary by company and across sectors, but it’s nevertheless the level of ambition we should all be striving for.

It really helps an individual finance partner to prioritise where they spend their time.  Most importantly it helps business partners to be clear about what they should stop doing;  the lower value-adding activities

Most companies have been steadily reducing their back-office accounting costs by as much as 25 -35% through shared services, efficiencies or off-shoring.

Meanwhile, in the ‘business-facing’ part of Finance, a further 10-15% of cost reduction can usually be gained from efficiencies in management reporting and other core finance processes like budgeting or forecasting.

Really successful companies then use the freed-up time and some of the freed-up expense to fund more investment in Finance Business Partnering to drive business value.

Always aiming for 20 – 30 times their value.

The primary measure for business partners should be the business performance and success of the business area they support. This drives the right ‘in-the-business’ behaviour.

We often run quick assessments of the business value potential for clients to re-set the agenda of business partnering teams to focus on the priority value opportunities in your business.

It’s well worth measuring the value your finance business partners deliver in your company.  It really helps you to identify the business priorities, as well as seeing how big your team of finance partners should be.

And measuring value is a powerful way to engage your business colleagues in a conversation about what the role of finance should be within your company.

So Ask Yourself:

  • Are your Finance business partnering teams clear about their ‘business value goals’?
  • Are you clear about how to measure business value for your finance teams?
  • Are they 20 – 30 times their costs?

Adrian Willmott,
Managing Director, Arcus Consulting
t: +44 (0) 207 608 5096

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