- As business owners expect more from their finance teams, CAs are increasingly seen as a Finance Business Partner.
- World Congress of Accountants offers specific forums that address how to become a finance business partner of the future.
- WCOA provides opportunities to speak with other CAs and learn how they are delivering greater value-add to their clients.
Seven years ago, David Boyar FCA, was working as a business banker. The game-changing moment came when he visited a client that was exceeding every metric. Boyar admitted he was, “blown away.” The company – a vertically integrated bedding manufacturer, was using advanced project costing, pricing projects and other types of analysis that Boyar didn’t expect in a business of this smaller scale.
When he enquired about the steps the company was taking to achieve these targets, the answer surprised him: They were using a virtual CFO.
The experience proved pivotal for Boyar, whose first reaction was “100 per cent of my clients need this”. Fast forward to today, and Boyar is now at the helm of his own company – Sequel CFO, which provides similar virtual CFO services (though it’s a term he is uncomfortable with).
As CAs we need to take control of the skill sets we have and create influence for ourselves with a vision for future finance teams.
Boyar prefers to see his role as “helping businesses get to know their business even better.” He explains, “Ten years ago information used to be about transactions and sorting the data out. “Today, the amount of data being gathered, and the speed at which it is generated, means more questions are being asked about what is happening inside the business.”
“Lots of business owners need someone who can interpret this information and predict what’s coming. What they often don’t realise is that the finance person can help them make sense of – and use – this data.”
The rise of the CA as a finance business partner
Boyar is a firm believer that the role of Chartered Accountants as a true finance business partner is where the future of the profession lies. “The notion of finance business partnering is new,” admits Boyar. “But it’s a trend that will continue.”
“As CAs we need to take control of the skill sets we have and create influence for ourselves with a vision for future finance teams,” notes Boyar. “As CAs we have a brand as professional leaders and trusted advisors. If we can’t meet that expectation, we risk losing this status.”
Boyar admits he is looking forward to World Congress of Accountants, saying, “It’s a great way to learn and find best practice by getting together and looking outside our own businesses to find help.”
WCOA features some specific panels that address the issue of becoming a trusted finance business partner. However, Boyar adds, “The real opportunity can lie with being able to talk with people sitting in the room.”
He explains, “I’m really looking forward to WCOA to meet with people from other countries to find out what’s working for them – and what’s not and sharing that knowledge.