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Business partnering

What is Financial Business Partnering?

For many years, financial business partnering has existed in some shape or another. But in recent years, there has been an increase in the need for efficient financial business partners with businesses of all kinds.

Therefore, the finance department must adapt as the business climate gets more complicated.

Additionally, businesses understand that in order to be more responsive – constantly reassessing both long- and short-term goals and strategies – finance and accounting experts must play a business advising function inside an organization by assuming a value-added, “business partnering” position.

Also, this will assist other areas of the business in enhancing its decision-making role and analysis.

Definition of Financial Business Partnering

Business departments are keen to have the assistance of financial experts who are aware of the company’s goals and are capable of analyzing real-time data to aid in decision-making.

In other words, organizations require a culture of governance, accountability, and inspection, where both strategic and tactical choices are supported by data and forecasted results.

Financial business partnering entails finance executives collaborating with other business units to provide executives with financial information, resources, analysis, and insight, push their thinking, assist them in making better-informed decisions, and direct company strategy.

Ten Qualities of Solid Financial Business Partners

Here are the ten qualities of solid financial business partners.

  1. They are aware of business issues, comprehend them, and foresee operational and managerial requirements.
  2. Actively shape daily choices, strategy, and the course of the company.
  3. They serve as the intermediary or “translator” between operations and finance.
  4. Problem-solving is at the core of an approach to thinking that leads to successful financial business partnerships.
  5. They possess good fundamental business abilities, such as the ability to persuade, manage stakeholders, and make presentations.
  6. They can use both huge as well as little data, using the right tools to alter, analyze, and explain it in different manners for the right audience.
  7. They analyze data, organize it, determine its worth, and then clearly and succinctly deliver the conclusions to the pertinent parties.
  8. They must be capable of forming and upholding their own beliefs. As well as having a strong sense of ethics and being willing to defend these values.
  9. They must feel at ease dealing with uncertainty and danger.
  10. They focus on the future while taking lessons from the past.

Why Is A Financial Business Partner Necessary for A Company?

A finance business partner is knowledgeable in accounting and financial analysis. Therefore, they aid in bridging the gap between raw data and insight. By frequently communicating the most important results to operational employees in a manner that is simple to comprehend.

Moreover, they use their expertise to provide other decision-makers with information on the business environment. Also, on rival and company progress and market trends.

Depending on the size of the firm, finance business partners may not always work with senior management. But, the top management may assign them to certain departments where, in meetings with non-executive level workers, they explain their findings.

Examples of How Business Partnerships Work

  • To assist business unit leaders in understanding how specific key performance indicators (KPIs) are computed or how exchange rates are maintained, the finance business partner may collaborate with them.
  • By using comparable data and accounting for inflation, the finance business partner may assist HR in determining pay packages throughout the organization. To make sure that no significant risk variables are neglected and that the projections are reasonable, they could analyze them.
  • A sales team may receive financial effect explanations from the finance business associate on certain assurances that are part of a sales campaign.
  • In order to ensure that competing research initiatives are judged fairly, the finance business partner may collaborate with the R&D department or determine the criteria. Such as quick returns, degree of risk, or strategic interest.

How to Find Employment as A Financial Business Partner?

Most finance company partners have undergraduate or graduate degrees in accounting, financial planning, or data analysis.

Anyone who has an interest in this as a profession must have a sharp eye for understanding data. And also conveying it in understandable ways.

Financial business partners often have 5–10 years of industry expertise. However, advisers to executives and C-suite employees frequently have 20–plus years of experience in a particular sector.

The Bottom Line

CFOs and finance executives need to act right now to make sure they and their teams can successfully fill the position of a strategic financial business partner and serve as a change agent.

However, becoming a good finance business partner requires ongoing development and learning. Here are several practical steps that may help steer this path in the correct direction.

  • Be extremely explicit about how finance may benefit the company.
  • Maintain progress by focusing on the essential financial competence enablers.
  • Eliminate the obstacles to value addition, then show the outcomes — step by step, sector by sector.

Finally, you can learn how to become a successful financial business partner with my course. In addition, my course is a choice for many finance professionals to boost their careers.

Business partnering is nothing new. The need for business partnerships is more important than ever, though, as the commercial environment of today grows more unreliable and chaotic. As a result, you require business partnering skills to succeed in financial planning and analysis.

A company’s ability to make decisions quickly and effectively is becoming increasingly important to its success and might provide it the lead over competitors. Furthermore, businesses are demanding more from the finance function, according to a new study done with top executives from around the world.

What Is Business Partnering?

Business partnering is the use of functional knowledge in one department of the company (typically finance) to improve decision-making in business units throughout the whole company. Therefore, the timeliness and quality of choices that affect the organization’s bottom line and ultimately generate business value may be improved through effective business partnerships.

Financial leadership has a greater chance than ever to directly influence the development and fate of the company.

But in order to be great business partners, they must possess a unique blend of technical and behavioral skills, including an awareness of the business and what drives the numbers, as well as strong interpersonal and leadership abilities.

Business Partnering Skills

Here are the most important business partnering skills you need to possess.

  • Business acumen. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the organization’s many functional divisions and its position in the market. A business partner shouldn’t be reluctant to work across many departments. Instead, they must take the time to get to know the individuals and issues that exist across the whole firm.
  • Strategic thinking. A business partner serves as a consultant in this paradigm. As a result, one must posses skills at both scenario preparation and strategic thinking. The position calls for the capacity to evaluate organizational requirements, forecast consequences, and implement changes.
  • The mentality of problem-solving. As a consultant, a business partner will confront difficulties head-on. A partner needs to be able to carefully lead a team toward potential solutions while also analyzing data.
  • Collaboration skills. Exceptional interpersonal skills are a need. These people must be skilled communicators with a range of audiences. Managers and executives must communicate with assurance while facilitating challenging conversations.
  • Technical expertise. Business partners can use digital technologies to make data-driven decisions. For example, managing and analyzing data frequently use business intelligence software. Other kinds of software, such as workforce management software for human resources, may be required depending on the demands of the firm.
  • Possess the capacity to convert data into useful insights. Those with whom you are collaborating do not understand the financial language you have spent years learning. Effective business partners can interpret the data into a business narrative with takeaways that others can comprehend and use.
  • Be open to collaborating in unusual ways. Keep in mind that you are working with new business functions, which calls for new skills. It’s possible that your message won’t be heard the first time. The need for endurance necessitates patience.

Advantages of Business Partnering Skills

An organization can experience several beneficial improvements by putting a business partnership model into practice. Among the advantages are:

  • Improved efficiency. Executives can decide confidently and swiftly, which might boost the bottom line of the business.
  • Reduced expenses. A team may frequently come up with innovative or creative solutions to reduce costs or increase income when a technical strategist is present in the room where choices are made.
  • Improved communication. The business partner’s role as a relational manager enables them to link teams, which enhances communication and corporate culture.

In the end, a corporation will discover that it may make more sensible choices and reevaluate tactics that advance the business. This expansion may increase the company’s financial worth and help it succeed.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, many things are under the scope of FP&A experts. Today, it refers to doing more than only carrying out administrative tasks for the company. But having the necessary business partnering skills, as mentioned above, is essential for effective business cooperation.

Finally, if you want to learn more about how to become a better business partner and FP&A professional, you can choose to take my course and elevate yourself in the Finance world.

Accountants who work closely with a specific business unit to form a genuine and active collaboration with both operations and management are referred to as finance business partners. Additionally, their role is to provide real-time’ support and analysis, to be a trusted consultant, and to give value to help in decision-making.

The capacity to express their message, understand their audience, and offer information in a clear and user-friendly manner is critical to their success. This combination of analytical, marketing, and communication skills is essential for effective finance business collaboration.

These finance business partners provide financial expertise and guidance. They track financial performance and provide financial information, forecasting, and analysis to help guide decision-making and set strategy.

Moreover, they play a critical role in helping the business understand its financial position and performance. Also, identify financial goals and priorities, and develop strategies to achieve these goals.

Why You Need A Finance Business Partner?

Here are the five reasons why every business needs a finance business partner.

#1: Reason: Financial analysis and decision-making

A finance business partner can help a business with financial analysis and decision-making in a number of ways:

  • Providing financial data: 

It can provide the business with access to financial data. Such as financial statements, budgeting, and forecasting, to help the business understand its financial position and performance.

  • Analyzing financial data: 

It can analyze financial data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement. They can also provide insights and recommendations based on this analysis to help the business make informed decisions.

  • Developing financial projections:

 A finance business partner can develop financial projections and scenarios to help the business assess the potential impact of different decisions. This can include creating budgets, forecasting cash flow, and assessing different projects or investments’ potential return on investment.

  • Assessing risk: 

A finance business partner can help the business assess financial risks. Such as fluctuations in currency exchange rates or changes in market conditions, and guide how to mitigate these risks.

  • Providing guidance: 

It can provide guidance and advice to the business on financial matters, such as budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning. They can also help the business understand financial concepts and principles and how to apply them to the business’s specific needs and goals.

Bottom Line:

 A finance business partner can provide an in-depth analysis of the business’s financial data, including financial statements and budgeting, to help the business make informed decisions about its financial resources. They can also help the business develop financial projections and scenarios to assess the potential impact of different decisions.

#2: Reason: Strategic planning

A finance business partner can help a business with financial strategic planning in a number of ways:

  • Identifying financial goals: 

It can work with the business to identify its financial goals and priorities, including goals related to cost savings, revenue generation, and growth.

  • Developing a financial plan: 

A finance business partner can help the business develop a comprehensive financial plan to achieve its financial goals. This can include creating budgets, forecasting cash flow, and identifying cost savings and revenue generation opportunities.

  • Assessing financial performance: 

A finance business partner can help the business assess its financial performance and identify areas for improvement. This can include analyzing financial data, such as financial statements and budgets, to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement.

  • Setting financial targets: 

A finance business partner can help the business set financial targets and develop strategies to achieve them. This can include setting targets for key financial metrics, such as profitability, cash flow, and return on investment, and developing plans to meet these targets.

Bottom Line:

It can help the business identify and prioritize its financial goals and develop a comprehensive plan to achieve them. This can include identifying opportunities for cost savings, revenue generation, and growth and developing strategies to capitalize on them.

#3: Reason Risk management

A finance business partner can help a business with financial risk management in a number of ways:

  • Identifying financial risks:

It can help the business identify financial risks, such as fluctuations in currency exchange rates or changes in market conditions. These risks could impact the business’s financial performance.

  • Assessing risk:

A business partner can help the business assess the potential impact of financial risks on its financial performance and provide guidance on mitigating these risks.

  • Developing contingency plans:

A finance business partner can help the business develop contingency plans to handle unexpected financial challenges. Such as economic downturns or sudden changes in market conditions. These plans can include strategies to manage cash flow, reduce costs, and generate additional revenue.

  • Providing guidance:

A business partner can guide and advise the business on financial risk management, including identifying, assessing, and mitigating financial risks. They can also help the business understand financial concepts and principles related to risk management and how to apply them to the business’s specific needs and goals.

  • Monitoring risk:

A finance business partner can help the business monitor financial risks on an ongoing basis and provide updates on any changes that could impact the business’s financial performance. This can help the business stay informed and prepared to handle any potential financial risks that may arise.

Bottom Line

A finance business partner can help the business identify and mitigate financial risks, such as fluctuating currency exchange rates or economic downturns. They can also help the business develop contingency plans to handle unexpected financial challenges and provide guidance on how to implement these plans effectively.

#4: Reason: Performance monitoring

A finance business partner can help a business with financial performance monitoring in a number of ways:

  • Providing financial data:

It can provide the business with access to financial data. Such as financial statements, budgeting, and forecasting, to help the business understand its financial position and performance.

  • Analyzing financial data:

A business partner can analyze financial data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement. They can also provide insights and recommendations based on this analysis to help the business make informed decisions.

  • Setting financial targets:

A finance business partner can help the business set financial targets and develop strategies to achieve them. This can include setting targets for key financial metrics. Such as profitability, cash flow, and return on investment, and developing plans to meet these targets.

  • Providing regular reports

A business partner can provide regular, in-depth reports and analyses to help the business track its financial performance and identify areas for improvement. These reports can include financial statements, budgeting, forecasting, and other financial data.

  • Providing guidance:

A finance business partner can provide guidance and advice to the business on financial matters. Such as budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning. They can also help the business understand financial concepts and principles and how to apply them to the business’s specific needs and goals.

Bottom Line

A finance business partner can provide regular, detailed reports and analyses to help the business track its financial performance and identify areas for improvement. They can help the business set financial targets and develop strategies for them. Furthermore, provide guidance to monitor progress toward these goals. Overall, a finance business partner can help a business monitor its financial performance by providing access to financial data, analyzing this data, setting financial targets, and providing regular reports and guidance to help the business make informed decisions.

#5: Reason: Collaboration               

A finance business partner can help a business by providing financial guidance in a number of ways:

  • Providing expertise:

A business partner brings financial expertise to the table, which can be valuable in decision-making and strategy development. They can help the business understand financial statements, budgeting, forecasting, and other financial matters in greater detail and provide guidance on how to maximize the company’s financial resources.

  • Providing advice:

A finance business partner can provide guidance and advice to the business on financial matters. Such as budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning. They can also help the business understand financial concepts and principles and how to apply them to the business’s specific needs and goals.

  • Providing support:

A  business partner can provide support to the business as it navigates financial challenges and opportunities. This can include providing guidance on how to handle financial risks. Such as fluctuating currency exchange rates or economic downturns and helping the business develop contingency plans.

  • Providing education:

He can help educate the business’s management and employees on financial matters, including financial concepts, principles, and best practices. This can help the business make more informed and effective decisions that align with its financial goals.

  • Providing resources:

He can provide the business with access to financial resources. Such as financial data, tools, and software, to help it manage its financial affairs more effectively. This can include access to financial modeling software, budgeting tools, and other resources to help the business better understand and manage its financial position.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, a finance business partner can provide guidance and advice to the business on financial matters. Such as budgeting, forecasting, and financial planning. They can also help the business understand financial concepts and principles and how to apply them to the business’s specific needs and goals.

The Priority Competencies Required in A Finance Business Partner

  • Commercial and organizational acumen
  • Communicating to influence
  • Relationship to stakeholder management
  • Business insight and decision support
  • Negotiation mastery
  • Strategic thinking 
  • Global perspective and adaptability
  • Appreciation for technology

#1: Commercial and Organizational Acumen of A Finance Business Partner

It refers to a finance business partner’s understanding of the business’s financial position, performance, and objectives. As well as its industry and competitive landscape. Also, their ability to apply this understanding to identify and prioritize financial goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

Having strong commercial and organizational acumen is critical for a partner. Because it enables them to provide the business with valuable insights and recommendations based on a deep understanding of the business’s financial needs and goals. It also allows them to effectively collaborate with other departments and stakeholders within the business to ensure that financial considerations are taken into account in all decision-making.

In conclusion, commercial and organizational acumen is a key competency for a finance business partner. Since it enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals and making informed decisions about its financial resources.

#2: Communicating to Influence

It refers to a finance business partner’s ability to effectively communicate financial concepts and principles to the business. Also, to persuade others to take action based on this information.

Strong communication skills are critical for a finance business partner. That is because they need to be able to explain complex financial concepts and principles clearly and concisely to a diverse audience, including business managers, employees, and stakeholders. They should also effectively communicate their insights and recommendations to the business and persuade others to take action.

In conclusion, the ability to communicate to influence is an important competency for a finance business partner. That ability enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals and making informed decisions.

#3: Relationship to Stakeholder Management of The Finance Business Partner

It refers to a finance business partner’s ability to work effectively with other departments and stakeholders within the business to ensure that financial considerations are taken into account in all decision-making.

A finance business partner needs to be able to effectively collaborate with other departments and stakeholders within the business. The goal is to ensure that financial considerations are taken into account in all decision-making. This requires strong relationship management skills, including listening to other’s perspectives, communicating effectively, and working towards shared goals.

In conclusion, relationship to stakeholder management is an important competency for a finance business partner. Because it enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals and making informed decisions about its financial resources. It also helps the finance business partner ensure that financial considerations are taken into account in all decision-making, which is critical for the long-term financial success of the business.

#4: Business Insight and Decision

This support refers to a finance business partner’s ability to provide the business with insights and recommendations based on financial analysis and data and support the business in making informed decisions about its financial resources.

To provide effective business insight and decision support, a finance business partner needs to have a deep understanding of financial principles and practices. And be able to analyze financial data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement. They should also be able to communicate their insights and recommendations to the business in a clear and concise manner and provide guidance and support to the business as it makes financial decisions.

In conclusion, business insight and decision support are important competencies for a finance business partner. As it enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals and making informed decisions about its financial resources. It also helps the finance business partner ensure that the business is making data-driven decisions that are based on a deep understanding of its financial position and performance.

#5: Negotiation Mastery

It refers to a finance business partner’s ability to effectively negotiate financial agreements and contracts on behalf of the business.

To demonstrate negotiation mastery, a finance business partner should have a deep understanding of financial principles and practices. That means effectively communicating the business’s financial needs and goals to the other party. Also, they should be able to analyze financial data and identify opportunities for cost savings or revenue generation, and use this information to negotiate favorable terms for the business.

In conclusion, negotiation mastery is an important competency for a finance business partner. This is because it enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals by negotiating financial agreements and contracts that are favorable to the business. It also helps the finance business partner ensure that the business is making data-driven decisions that are based on a deep understanding of its financial position and performance.

#6: The Strategic Thinking of Finance Business Partner

This refers to a finance business partner’s ability to think strategically and help the business identify and prioritize its financial goals and develop a comprehensive plan to achieve them.

To demonstrate strategic thinking, a finance business partner should have a deep understanding of financial principles and practices and be able to analyze financial data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement. Also, to think critically and creatively about the business’s financial needs and goals and develop strategies to achieve them.

In conclusion, strategic thinking is an important competency for a finance business partner. As it enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals by developing comprehensive plans that are based on a deep understanding of the business’s financial position and performance. It also helps the finance business partner identify opportunities for cost savings, revenue generation, and growth and develop strategies to capitalize on them.

#7: Global perspective and Adaptability

and adaptability refers to a finance business partner’s ability to think and operate globally and adapt to changing financial conditions and business environments.

To demonstrate global perspective and adaptability, a finance business partner should deeply understand financial principles and practices. Furthermore, to be able to analyze financial data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for improvement. They should also be able to think critically and creatively about the business’s financial needs and goals and develop strategies to achieve them on a global scale. They should also be able to adapt to changing financial conditions and business environments and develop contingency plans to handle unexpected financial challenges.

In conclusion, global perspective and adaptability is an important competency for a finance business partner, as it enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals in a global context and adapt to changing financial conditions and business environments. It also helps the finance business partner identify opportunities for cost savings, revenue generation, and growth globally and develop strategies to capitalize on them.

#8: Appreciation for the Technology of A Finance Business Partner

It refers to a finance business partner’s understanding of and ability to use financial technology tools and software. Such as financial modeling software, budgeting tools, and other resources to help the business manage its financial affairs more effectively.

To demonstrate appreciation for technology, a finance business partner should have a deep understanding of financial principles and practices. Also, to be able to use financial technology tools and software to analyze financial data, develop financial projections, and create financial reports. They should also be able to effectively communicate their insights and recommendations to the business using these tools and resources.

In conclusion, appreciation for technology is an important competency for a finance business partner. it enables them to effectively support the business in achieving its financial goals by using financial technology tools and software to analyze financial data and make informed decisions about its financial resources. It also helps the finance business partner stay up-to-date with the latest financial technology tools and resources and use these tools to help the business manage its financial affairs more effectively.

The Final Verdict – Finance Business Partner is A Key Asset for Your Firm

Based on the firm or department and its goals, the procedure is flexible and subject to interpretation. It might be a short partnership-, mid-, or long-term, everlasting, or when a choice needs to be made. To establish active collaborations that offer immediate support and analysis, finance business partners are frequently integrated into certain business units. They become dependable consultants that concentrate on enhancing organizations.

If you are interested in learning more finance knowledge and insights on similar topics, you can take my course.

Combining efforts with your business partner may be a wise, win-win decision. However, both sides must be aware of the qualities they are seeking in a business partner before taking that action.

Therefore, taking the time to make sure the connection is successful lowers the possibility of future misunderstandings with your business partner.

Moreover, if you are in a role where you are in charge of interacting with other departments, this post is definitely for you.

What Should You Ask Your Business Partner?

Here are 15 questions you can ask to unleash value from your future working relationship!

Bring More Value

1. What is their main priority at the moment?

2. How can you help them achieve it?

3. What can you change that will bring value to them?

4. Which process can you improve to make their life easier?

5. Which business events have they seen recently which require Finance analysis?

To Improve Your Reporting

6. Are they using the report you send them?

7. What are they reading inside it? Maybe they only use a tiny fraction of it.

8. Is there anything to improve in the reports you send to them?

Better Understanding of Your Business Partner

9. How did they get to where they are today?

10. How do they want to communicate?

11. What is important for them in the collaboration? In addition, how can you interact with their direct lines (N-1 and N+1)?

Understanding their environment:

12. Which tools do they use?

13. What is their own reporting?

14. Do they need any help with tools where you have expertise? (Excel, PowerPoint, ERP…)?

15. Who is on their team? And what are their responsibilities?

Moreover, which other questions would you ask your operational business partner?

Finally, click here to access the questions immediately and use them easily.

The Final Verdict

You must always be truthful, open, and clear in your communications in any business partnership. Additionally, partnerships that last require time and effort from the both sides.

Above all, review the questions above and also make sure to have your own replies ready as well. What you want at the end is a win-win situation where you both help each other reach the company’s objectives as well as each of your own goals.

If you want to get better at finance business partnering, I have a specific module in my course. Click here to learn more.

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