What is your perfect day as a value-adding finance business partner? What do you need more time for? What would I do on a perfect day? How are you freeing up time to make a difference in your organisation?
Have you ever considered what you would do if you had more time as a finance business partner? It’s common to want more time to get things done, do things differently, and more. Finance business partners have the same struggles. They find it challenging to make progress or add more value when they feel they don’t have enough time.
In this article, we’ve included some tips to help you find more time in your and your team’s schedules to add more value to your organisation.
1. Start with Roles
One of the most important ways to free up more time is to ensure each team member’s role is specialised. Each person on the team needs to stop doing things that don’t add value and start doing things that do add value to the business.
Here’s an example. Some finance business partners double-check reports, answer inconsequential queries, and more. The best way you can stop doing useless tasks is to give team members something new to do. This can be done by resetting their agendas.
Start by focusing on the most essential decisions or actions within the business. These should be actions that meet or go beyond their business performance targets. In addition, stop your team from being only an information provider.
Moreover, the best way to find more time is to think about what else you want to do. Put these items in place first. Then create capacity for these tasks by assigning to the right team members. This is a great way to put an end to doing tasks that add little or no value.
2. What About Automation?
More finance business partners are starting to embrace automation to become more efficient and effective. The time saved will add value to the business.
For instance, automating the process of gathering and analysing data can give you and your team more time for more valuable work. Automation may involve implementing new tools and machine learning to have more time.
Cloud-based tech can be extremely beneficial for finance business partners. These tools “live” in the cloud and enable more effective collaboration.
In addition, cloud platforms make it easier to integrate applications, as well as migrate the data.
Collaboration can be further enhanced through communication tools, such as Slack, Teams, and others. These can improve workflows and cut down the time needed for meetings and more. Plus, these tools can create transcripts that can be referenced, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Finally, implementing more tech means also ensuring the finance business partner team also has the skills to use the new technology. Some of the skills can be developed on the team, with tech-savvy team members helping those who aren’t as ready to adapt new technologies.
It’s also a good idea to recruit for specific skills. It may be necessary to create a new position, but the skills are necessary for your team.
The issue is that competition is heating up quickly, especially for those who have talent in the tech sector. It may be challenging to find the right candidate, but the time spent is well worth the investment.
Adaption of new tech has the aim of automating processes and giving team members new things to do. Rather than spending time on meaningless tasks, they can work on creating value by saving time using technology. Technology causes team members to become more efficient, so they have time for other, more valuable tasks for the company.
3. Conduct Cross-Functional Meetings
Another way to develop a more efficient finance business partner team is to have cross-functional team meetings. Cross-functional meetings are beneficial in making significant business decisions in less time.
The meetings improve communication and collaboration and encourage the team to share information. The meetings instil positive company culture and allow team members to collaborate with their business partners in virtual or face-to-face meetings. Everyone can more easily focus on a common goal.
Cross-functional meetings are also an effective way to retain talent. Most team members enjoy working with others, plus the exposure helps them develop firmer ties with other departments in the company.
4. Reduce Friction
Another way finance business partners can gain more time is to reduce the friction involved in decision-making processes. When finance business partners develop strategies for their companies, they often encounter challenges. The challenges may involve “turf” wars from traditional leaders or others among the stakeholders.
Friction of this kind can be decimating and lead to missed opportunities. The goal of the finance business partner is to challenge biases and influence top decision-makers to embrace decisions that improve the company’s performance. Not only that, but influencing stakeholders can take time. The key is to reduce friction and help decision-makers follow through on effective business strategies.
One of the best ways to friction with stakeholders is to develop and improve your team’s soft skills. Key decision influencers need to have excellent communication and leadership skills.
Communication skills are necessary for effective presentation of financial data and influence the right decision for stakeholders. Finance business partners require the ability to present financial data to non-finance people so they understand and embrace it.
Reducing the friction with decision-makers also means careful listening on the part of finance business partners. Listening skills include listening to the dialog, correctly interpreting different scenarios, and challenging stakeholders to make better decisions.
When finance business partners have effective communication skills, they’re able to influence stakeholders more effectively and reduce the time necessary for them to make essential business decisions.
5. Focus on Continuous Improvement
Finally, finance business partners can save time by focusing on continuous improvement. The process involves focusing on the roles and resources within the team. Each person should have the right financial talent for the activities they’re responsible for.
Continuous improvement also means monitoring your team’s progress, focusing on performance issues, and determining ways to improve.
When you have an effective team, they save time by getting their work done faster, giving them more time for more valuable activities.
Many finance business partners believe they’re already running efficiently and effectively. However, if your team constantly needs more time to get things done, it’s time to assess the issues. Using the tips in this article, your team can become more efficient and have time for those more valuable tasks needed to help your business make the right business decisions now and in the future.