One element for FP&A teams to provide value is strategic partnership. Therefore, with any change in...
Strategic Partnership: Why it is important?
Why is strategic partnership important? You might be asking yourself this question when going to a sales meeting, working with another department or attending a company meeting. Strategic partnership is paramount as it allows FP&A teams to spend less time on traditional finance functions like reporting, treasury, tax and investor relations. Instead, they are engaged in detailed data analysis, driving key business processes and leading the company business model and overall strategic direction. Below you will see why strategic partnership is important.
Execution boils down to two key areas which are trusting the numbers and providing business insights for future direction. Ultimately, it is vital to track, report and execute on business initiatives and projects. FP&A teams that are viewed as strategic partners have a “seat at the table” in business decision making and execution.
FP&A teams are usually at the end of the customer lifecycle, but having them incorporated earlier makes certain that business insights are communicated in advance and understood by all until the final decision is made.
FP&A Strategic Partnership Challenge: Find a key business project or initiative to be a strategic partner to provide trust in the numbers, insights and execution.
The business enablement principle and why it is important to strategic partnership is about obtaining alignment on processes, deliverables and company funding strategy. Here is the reality, the buck stops when it comes to FP&A teams. We have access to all the budgets, actuals and forecasts. Therefore, when getting people, processes and leadership moving into the right direction, its critical to know the monetary and people funding strategies.
Alignment when moving fast to enter a new market, targeting a different customer segment or pivoting sales & marketing strategy is often left to guesswork. These are valuable skills from FP&A teams through strategic partnership because it leads to clear direction on responsibilities, timelines and accountability. Thus, allowing for greater understanding on tactical & strategic processes as well as value drivers.
FP&A Strategic Partnership Challenge: Identify a key business process that allows your team to work with other departments and drive process excellence.
Business Development & Communication
One of the hardest elements in executing on a strategy is business development and communication. Lack of communication is one of the biggest culprits in business failure and unsuccessful execution. Updating the company and leadership team on status of strategic goals doesn’t get much attention but is a big driver of company success.
Gone are the days, where business development is just selling or marketing your products or services, but more about developing growth and retention strategies. There are plenty of business development frameworks through a simple Google search, however, be cautious on selecting the framework appropriate to your organization’s needs. In terms of strategic partnership, the role of FP&A teams is helping introduce, implement and incorporate these frameworks to move strategically in the right direction.
FP&A Strategic Partnership Challenge: Research a few business developments or communication strategies that could drive better alignment and communication. Then, work to introduce, implement and incorporate them in your organization.
In conclusion, we looked at why strategic partnership is important and the role FP&A teams play inside businesses and decision making. The key takeaway is to ask yourself, “How does my manager, our leadership team, or other stakeholders view our team?” This answer helps identify if your viewed as a strategic partner. The goal should be moving away from being a scorekeeper and moving towards strategic partnership.
Lastly, tell me about your successes, learnings and any other feedback on the FP&A challenges and keep pushing!
The article was first published in Unit 4 Prevero Blog