I do a lot of work with a lot of Finance people and a number of people who work in the public sector.
One thing that always comes up whether it’s a coaching session, training or workshop is the issue of lots of demands and not enough financial resources to meet all of them.
Yes it’s frustrating when you are having to deal with this type of situation.
It makes relationships with those outside of the Finance function more challenging without a doubt.
It creates a lot of stress and anxiety.
The traditional approach organisations take is to come up with a list of cost savings.
For those working in the public sector there are always plenty of reviews to draw on.
Now while these cost savings are important to the long term financial stability of the organisation, a lot of the time they are short term or things that provide a one off benefit.
My own view is that by focusing down on cost savings there may be a tendency to have the mindset that this is just a short term thing until the economy improves and funding levels increase.
But what if that is not reality and the levels of funding are never going to return to the level before the global economy crashed.
What if the level of funding now is really the new norm?
The questions being asked need to be different.
Instead of just drawing up big savings lists, some of the questions that need to be asked by finance professionals and leadership teams in my view include:
What can we deliver well with the level of funding we have?
Surely it’s much better to look at delivering what you do well with the level of finding that is available.
What really matters to those that use our services?
I worked in the NHS in finance for a large part of my accountancy career.
While I never asked this question directly, I’ll hazard a guess and say that people want to know the service is there for them and their families in times of real emergency and where there is life threatening condition.
How do we get everyone understanding the realities of where we are?
This is about good, open communication with people.
Professionals are smart people. They can work out the realities and will more likely be part of the solution if they are involved and informed.
How do we create the right business model for the world today?
If you look at the private sector (and yes I know there are differences) most sectors have changed their business model to some extent and some pretty radically.
Banking is probably one of the most extreme. Under 40 years ago banks closed at 3.30pm to the public and this was in the days when ATMs were just being introduced.
Braches were the focal point of banking for the public.
Now most of rarely go into a branch, do our banking online or via the telephone.
In truth it might be nice to think that we can return to the pre crash days and have the money to do whatever was needed. In reality it probably means thinking differently and seeing the current state of affairs as being the new norm.
What’s your perspective?