Are you dying to add value to the business you are in, but find that you are having trouble breaking down the barrier between Finance and the business? If so you are not alone as many finance professionals are struggling with this even though finance functions in most major companies have created new positions as Finance Business Partners to do just that. The problem is however as I have previously written about (Why We Need Business Partnering Transformation) that there is no good definition of what a Finance Business Partner should be doing. Therefore, it becomes a free for all and Finance Business Partners find themselves doing everything from reporting and other transactional tasks to linking strategy and execution and driving strategic initiatives.
It is, therefore, clear that better-defined job descriptions are needed for Finance Business Partners to create some alignment and unlock the full potential of Finance Business Partnering. According to Deloitte leading Finance Business Partners are associated with the following tasks and characteristics:
- Strategic tasks that help achieve top business priorities
- Clearly, measure and articulate the value they bring
- Effectively deliver against aligned finance and business agendas
- Use intelligent tools to analyze financial and operational information
- Are top talent in the organization
None of the above is very clear in their definition so further fine-tuning is certainly needed however the key message here is that Finance Business Partners add value to the bottom-line of their company. Therefore, a key result measure should be this tangible value added. They need second to none communication skills to speak finance to non-finance professionals as well as the ability to foster collaboration between departments. Finance is not running the business nor should it try to, but it should act as a facilitator on strategic and tactical initiatives. The Finance Business Partner needs to be “running the floor” and be an embedded part of the business-critical functions. The days of sitting in the corner doing analysis no one understands are over.