Building your finance function

Is this the brutal truth about FP&A and FBP?

80-90% plus of what FBPs do is not finance business partnering. Why? Because it’s reporting, forecasting or budgeting. Which are FP&A activities. Soon to be largely taken over by robots. The future of FP&A is not business partnering. The future of FP&A is automation, significant job losses and falling wages as supply outweighs demand. Finance…

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The fallacy of forecasting

As finance people we probably already know that focussing the future is more important than the reporting the past. After all we can’t change the past. The problem is that finance focussing on the future often means forecasting it. And trying to get better at forecasting it. There are a few potential problems with this…

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What is finance business partnering?

What is finance business partnering? I used to be a finance director, then I became a sales director, and I’ll show you everything I learned in sales that I wished I’d known when I worked in finance. Finance business partnering is about three things: Number one, building relationships. Number two, turning data into insights. And…

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The only question to ask finance business partners at appraisal

I started to work for a finance director who had a unique view of the role of finance. He had left finance and spent 5 years in general management. And then he came back into finance. He said it completely changed his perspective. He had unconventional view on almost everything. Including the annual performance review…

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Finance team structure – how to save money and increase impact

One of the questions I am asked the most is what’s the best finance team structure? I always say the same. The mindset of the people you have is way more important than the structure. If your finance team have a commercial mindset, then they will work well in any structure. If your finance team…

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How do I know my business partners are any good?

Your team are probably all very busy. But how do you know whether they are busy fools. Or focussed. Efficient. Making a genuine difference. Here’s 3 things to look out for. 1. How much time do they spend at their desk? Business partnering doesn’t happen in Excel or Powerpoint. Nor at a desk. Anyone at…

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Are you on the pitch, or in the commentary box?

I recently wrote a post questioning whether the title ‘finance business partner’ helps or hinders our mindset and approach. It got me thinking. This week the England football team are back in action, following a torrid time. I’ll be in the pub with friends, cheering the team on. The temporary manager will be in the dugout.…

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Business partnering: Are you in or out?

Referendums. All quiet for decades. Then we have Scotland. Then the EU. What’s next? Is it time for the Finance Business Partner referendum? I have a problem with the term. Maybe not so much the term itself, rather how it is interpreted at an unconscious level. When we talk about ‘partnering the business’, we are making…

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Ever tried to ride a bike with no wheels?

When I first started working my job title included the word ‘accountant’. I was the ‘International Reporting Accountant’. Then I became the ‘Logistics Accountant’. Then the ‘Factory Accountant’. Then I got a new job titled ‘Commercial Finance Business Partner’. But it didn’t make me a finance business partner. It took me years to work out…

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