There’s a reason the car windscreen is bigger than the rear-view mirror!

Finance business partnering is about looking forwards through the windscreen to challenge and influence business decisions, business strategy and business outcomes.

Yet more than 85% of the time in most Finance functions is spent looking in the rear view mirror!

Business partnering is about ‘stepping up’ in the boardroom or with business unit management teams, and creating teams of finance business partners across your company at all levels.

Yet, too often we see traditional Finance Managers simply ‘re-branded’ as finance business partners, often with little idea of what is really expected of them.

Take Kathy, a Business Partner in a FTSE-100 manufacturing company, who recently confessed to me:

“I’ve been selected as a business partner because I was pretty good at doing management accounting. My FD told me to get more involved with the commercial leadership team. But to be honest I’m not quite sure where to focus, and I don’t really understand marketing.”

Kathy’s ‘confession’ illustrates a common problem. No-one has thought about what being good at finance business partnering would really involve, or explained it to Kathy.

What would really help Kathy to be more successful in her new role? I’d suggest:

  • agreeing the new role of Finance with her business leadership team
  • identifying ‘business value opportunities’ with her business colleagues
  • increasing her in-depth product and marketing knowledge
  • improving her skills to challenge and influence her marketing colleagues
  • and acquiring new business evaluation tools, perhaps for brand pricing or sales channels.

So Ask Yourself:

  1. Do your finance teams spend most of their time looking in the rear-view mirror?
  2. What have you done to help to re-set the agenda of your finance business partners?
  3. Have you helped your teams to develop new skills for business partnering, or build new tools for decision support?



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

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