Being An Even Better Finance Business Partner

The role of the management accountant is changing all the time.  When I started out in my career, the finance function was very much in the background.

Over the years it has continually evolved.  The idea of the accountant working alongside the business became more common.

This went a step further with the increasing move towards Finance Business Partnering.

These days it seems that in a large number of finance roles business partnering is common place.

Yet what I've noticed is that there are a lot of misunderstanding about finance business partnering.

What finance business partnering isn't about

From my perspective finance business partnering isn't just about:

  1. A change in your job title
  2. Attending only part of the meetings and only talking about the money
  3. Providing reports and information.

Finance business partnering for me is about

  1. Doing a radically different role, a bit like a Finance Director or CFO for part of a business
  2. Being an integral part of a management team contributing way beyond the numbers or the financial agenda
  3. Providing insight to shape strategy, direction and facilitate decision making.

Many traditional management accountants do a great job as finance business partners for others it's more of a challenge.

So how can you be an even better finance business partner?

Think Differently About Your Role

How do you view yourself?  As someone who looks after the financials or as someone who really contributes to business success.

Management accountants who can look after the numbers can easily be seen as a commodity.  Those who think in terms of value and contribution are likely to be much better finance business partners.

Get In Tune With What Your Internal Clients Want

If you were running your own practice serving clients you would take the time to find out what your clients wanted.

There's nothing to stop you doing the same with your internal clients in your role as Finance Business Partner. 

Asking your internal clients to complete a short simple survey will help you get in tune with what your internal clients want.

Focus on Enhancing Your Business Knowledge

A lot of accountants can fall into a trap. Confusing knowing about the organisation with good business knowledge.

Of course it's vitally important to know your organisation.  On the other hand the more you learn about business and drivers of success, the greater the value and contribution you can make.

The Bottom Line

A Finance Business Partnering role is hugely rewarding and fulfilling in my experience.  What steps do you need to take to be an even better Finance Business Partner?