- What finance teams provide does not always match what a business needs
- Business partnering allows finance to support the business and its goals
- Business partnering may help finance, as a group function, future-proof itself
What finance teams provide does not always match what a business wants or needs, according to a recent global survey* by management consultants McKinsey & Company.
Almost 40% of the CFOs surveyed believed they added value through strategic leadership, but only 25% of their peers agreed.
The latest Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Business Insights explores how this perception gap can be addressed through more effective partnering with internal business units.
As finance is a group function, the requirements of the entire business should dictate how finance engages with individual business units.
"The concept of business partnering describes a way finance can work to support the business and its goals."
It can be described simply as a way of figuring out where to put the next dollar.
The benefits of partnering for finance teams include increased collaboration and a better understanding of the how the business works. This, in turn, can promote trust in the finance function and allow the team to be seen as more than the people who provide the red tape or rubber stamps.
While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, some common approaches to partnering include:
- a dedicated 'business partner' role reporting directly to finance, or to the business area
- business partnering as a subset of performance management/management reporting
- business partnering as a whole-of-finance role, without designated staff.
With technology driving changes such as the automation of transactional work and the creation of more detailed data sets, business partnering done well may have some additional benefits for finance teams.
The finance team of the future has the opportunity to lead the business in using big data and be indispensable in ensuring information is relevant. Finance could also play a big role in advising the business how to use data for internal decision-making, which could lead to a host of new ways to provide trusted advice that adds value.
To find out how business partnering can offer the most benefits, download and read the full report: