By Christopher Andrew Heathcote, Finance business partner and FP&A Contractor,
A finance business partner acts as the bridge between the wider business and the financial leadership of the organisation. They work to unite the needs and demands of the group with those of the business with whom they partner, translating the financial strategy into a story they are able to identify and empathize with. They guide their business partners through the various financial constraints and perceived barriers to ensure their business units effectively and efficiently meet their strategic objectives.
As a thought leader in Strategic Finance for the past 15 years, I’ve seen companies greatly improve their Integrated Planning capabilities by adopting a well-defined Strategic Finance process.
When executed correctly, Strategic Finance is the linchpin between Strategic Planning and Budgeting. It helps organizations turn strategic thinking into reality by cascading thoughts and goals into measurable financial outcomes.
This article describes how to establish sustainable success in Strategic Finance, one step at a time.
An important characteristic of FP&A practitioners is a commitment to continuous improvement. There are a number of ways for FP&A practitioners to commit toward improving their work. For me, one of the ways I commit to continuous improvement is reading books.
A book that I recently read was SUPERFORECASTING by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner. There are a number of helpful statements in the book and for me, one statement stands out as a guide for improvement. The statement appears on page 150: “A probabilistic thinker will be less distracted by ‘why’ questions and focus on ‘how.’” This statement provides a way to improve the work of FP&A practitioners.
We only need to look at the evolution of the mobile phone to understand why the role of the FP&A business partner has changed. In 2000, I began my career in FP&A as an analyst at Silicon Graphics, the same year that the iconic Nokia 6210 was launched. Back then the functionality of the mobile phone was limited to voice calls and simple text messages. Who would have thought that 16 years later, we would be using mobile phones to pay our bills, control our heating, take part in video conferences and monitor our health? The mobile phone “app” economy has transformed our day to day lives.
As technology has continued to evolve at an increasing speed and the business environment has become so complex and volatile, decisions have to be made quickly and the demand for timely, flexible, forward-looking analysis has transformed the role of the FP&A business partner.
By Steve Morlidge, Business Forecasting thought leader, author of "Future Ready: How to Master Business Forecasting" and "The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting"
Many millions of people are stuck with the habit of smoking. They know its bad for them and it will eventually kill them, yet they continue. They may have tried to quit many times but they are stuck in a rut. Experience has shown that to successfully break habits you must stop things as well as start doing new things.
The current practice of management exhibits some very bad habits. One key cause is an underlying philosophy of “command and control.” Managers know it is bad for them and it kills motivation, initiative, flexibility and innovation on a daily basis.