Translators between data/finance and operations, commercial, strategic, anticipating the business needs, future thinking yet logical minded, actively influence, good communicator, can see the possibilities in the numbers…
Did you think of all these words when you saw the word “finance” in the title?
The age-old image of the “bookkeeper”, “number cruncher” with their head in excel files seems to still be the perception or misperception of finance for so many people. While this is one of the crucial functions of finance in the broader sense, it is not the only function.
Yes, the numbers will be accurate and correct, business will run efficiently but there is so much more potential if you leverage what a great finance person can offer. Although running an efficient FP&A cycle is an important aspect (GOOD) not every financial person is a business partner (GREAT). The latter can be defined as:
“A finance professional who works alongside other business areas, supporting and advising their strategic and operational decision-making through insights that drive better business”
WHY WOULD YOU WANT GREAT FINANCE?
- The need for a finance business partner is growing in the fast-paced and tech driven environment we live in today
- The finance function is transforming in increasingly complex, strategic roles focused on driving the creation of value across the entire business
- Financial professionals must become more agile and adaptive to deal with an ever-changing world (take the year 2020 for an example)
- This applies even more in the area of fast-growing start-up / scale up companies with high shareholders expectations and rapidly developing markets
Compounding these needs a financial business partners would ideally have a mixture of these competences:
- Be analytical and develop insights from data (“numbers tell, stories sell”)
- Be strategic to drive the right strategic choices
- Be tech-savvy to drive the digital transformation
- Be disruptive to keep the company competitive
- Be social and develop strong relationships with key stakeholders
Preferably, these attributes should be front on mind when you are looking for a finance person and want to maximize your companies potential.