Finance Business Partner - 5 Qualities That Matter

The pressures and challenges that most businesses face nowadays are constantly changing, and the organisation, but finance specifically must be ready to adapt to these changes.

The Finance Business Partner should assist in guiding and supporting managers and departments with analysis and information about the organisation’s position and course.

The Finance Business Partner also contributes to the strategic planning, decision-making, performance and business improvements.

The main benefit of having a Finance Business Partner is to help create value and be a diligent financial advisor.

Being a Business Partner requires a blend of skills.  These skills enable the Business Partner to exert great influence on the company’s operational and strategic decisions and direction through effective partnering across the various function in your organisation.

In this article, I will explore the 5 key qualities an effective finance business partner MUST possess.

Quality #1: Clearly Understanding The Requirements Of The Business

 

Finance Business Partnering is all about developing a deeper understanding of what makes your numbers and what makes these numbers work.

It goes far beyond traditional financial reporting.

Business Partners do not focus on what happened in the past but rather take a forward-looking approach and the commercial view of the business and with this information, provide strategic insights based on industry, competitor dynamics and market trends to drive better business performance.

Finance Business Partners use various techniques and methods to identify business performance and effectively and clearly communicate these insights to decision makers. In other words, what the numbers mean for the long-term success of your business.

Quality #2: Close To The Business And It's Operations

 

Understanding sales, marketing, supply chain, production etc. is key to an effective Finance Business Partner to ensure confident and proactive support to these areas of the business.

Finance Business Partners have a natural interest in business and how the different parts of a business fit together.  They are inquisitive and have a desire to understand the commercial and market-related issues and implications impacting on business performance.

Naturally, Finance Business Partners will have high levels of credibility and trust with managers and board members.

Clear and extensive dialogue, challenging constructively in the interest of the business to ensure the business is best managed in the long-term interest of the stakeholders are at the heart of a Finance Business Partner..

Quality #3: Soft Skills

 

Although a Finance Business Partner has all the core accounting and financial skills they are not your typical accountant.

A successful Finance Business Partner skills comprise of interpretation of commercial insights, strategic thinking, influencing, communications and leadership.

Commercial insights enable the Finance Business Partner to stay in touch with the business and related industry.  With these insights, the business can proactively take hold of opportunities and/or mitigate any threats.

Communication skills are essential to ensure the Finance Business Partner presents financial data and decision making effectively to non-financial people.

Effective Business Partners can adjust their listening and communication skills to the specific audience in front of them. For example, when they sit around the table with board members they can listen attentively, interpret different scenarios correctly, influence choices and challenge thinking to drive better decision-making.

Quality #4: Adding Value To Improve Performance

 

The Finance Business Partner provides an objective and independent analysis of how the business is performing and use these insights to advise managers on decisions to improve business performance.

An effective Finance Business Partner understands the needs of their customers and values honest feedback.

Quality #5: Focused On Continuous Improvement

 

Focused on continuously adding strategic and operation value to the business is what makes a Finance Business Partner tick.

It is not a once-off project but rather a continuous transformation of functions, processes and procedures that impact on the positive growth and value creation of the business.

Effective Finance Business Partners will measure performance against goals in specific areas, highlight performance, progress and misses, and always determine a way of improving.

We found the CIMA report on Finance Business Partnering very interesting and comprehensive. 

CGMA Business Partnering Report.

Another report which looks at how finance functions are transforming to drive business results is the Finance Effectiveness Benchmark Report 2017 by PWC. This is a one pager that definitely worth a read. 

 Effectiveness Benchmark Report 2017

How We Help

Business partnering is a core element of our organisation and it is what sets us apart from the rest. 

Beyond Financials provides deep, real-world industry and functional experience to add value to your organisation. We help you simplify the identification of performance gaps, capitalize on the power of data-driven decision making and move quickly towards a more efficient, cost-effective way to do business.

Our solutions and tools are designed to help our clients succeed in an evolving business world.

You can read more about our business partner offering here.

To see how Beyond Financials can an effective finance business partner to your organisation please contact us on 0800 00 48 68 or drop us a note using the contact form below.

Written by Beyond Financials