The world of Accounting is changing rapidly and continues to be disrupted and enhanced by technology & automation.
With automation changing the landscape of the finance process, there is more emphasis on the added value of the finance function. Over the past few years we've seen the growth of a new breed of Accountants - the finance business partners.
Let's be honest, this is the sexier side of accounting and where the majority of people want to move into. Unfortunately, it's not all Rock 'n' Roll, there are a few key skills needed to become a highly valuable Finance BP. Here's what the best business partners have in common:
1. Can you influence?
Moving out of the finance function and having to deal with commercial teams or non finance teams can be a big change for some. The ability to influence, tell a story and condense financial data into a more consumable and punchy style is essential to keeping their attention. Remember that the majority of stakeholders outside of finance, don't get excited by numbers so keep it short, snappy and try tie your financial data to the business strategy to keep their interest.
2. Your network is your net worth!
The best finance business partners are problem solvers but more importantly are self aware enough to know that they can't solve every problem by themselves. By networking and building relationships internally they make their job a lot easier when they need key information from commercial or other non finance functions.
TIP:Remember, every interaction counts when you're in a Finance BP role so make every second worthwhile. Each conversation will strengthen relationships and credibility.
3. Drive & embrace change
Many people who excel in the Finance BP role have a thirst for driving new change initiatives or improvements. Living in real time financial analysis can be a challenge for some companies and this is where you can really add value - recently we worked with an exceptional Finance Business Partner candidate who saw an opportunity to significantly improve the commercial finance reports and management packs. Once she successfully completed this mini project she was asked to roll it out internationally! It doesn't always have to mean additional reports - sometimes less is best, if there's too many reports then add value by streamlining these and make senior stakeholders lives easier!
4. Persistence and Patience
If your role is new to an organisation, it may take some time before you develop strong relationships with stakeholders outside of finance. Don't panic, stick to the process and be relentless in your pursuit to add value across the organisation. Don't hide behind emails, walk to their desk and develop the relationship. The best finance BP's know this takes time.
5. Lead by example
Most importantly, finance business partners are ambassadors for the finance function. They tend to be the most visible and memorable finance members for the business. Being positive, collaborative and personable goes a long way when stepping into the Finance Business Partnering world.
Looking for additional information and insight into the commercial finance space? Check out our 2019 Salary Guide and Market Overview for all the latest statistics and market analysis.