What’s the best way to organise Finance to add business value?

Few companies have mastered how to get the best out of the business-facing part of their Finance organisation.

Part of the challenge lies with organisation structure and appointing the right people into different roles.

But often the more significant challenge lies with setting the right goals and measures.

It usually pays to separate the ‘business-facing’ part of your Finance organisation into two parts:

  1. Business Reporting and Analysis, with the aim of freeing-up time for business partners to work ‘in-the-business’
  2. Finance Business Partnering, being active on business management teams, driving strategy and influencing business decisions to deliver growth and value.

Yet, very often we find business partners spending a lot of time generating reports and manipulating data instead of working alongside their business colleagues challenging business decisions and driving business performance.

As Finance Director your role is to make crystal clear what the segmented roles, goals and measures are to drive the right behaviours.

The key to success is to create mutually exclusive, but supportive measures:

  • 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’ behaviours.  High performing finance partners should be delivering business value of at least 20-30 times their costs.
  • Reporting and Analysis teams need quite different metrics to the business partners, especially if you create a shared reporting and analysis centre.  Their two key measures should be i) producing valuable business information to support decisions, and ii) their ability to free-up time for business partners to influence decisions.

So ask yourself these questions: 

  • Have you created clear and segmented ‘business-facing’ roles with different goals?
  • Is everyone clear about the ‘business value goals’ for business partnering?
  • Are you able to measure the benefits and demonstrate the business value of finance to your business colleagues?

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

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