Driving value through finance function transformation
Becoming a strategic business partner: Three things you should know
INSIGHT ARTICLE |
1. Modernizing the finance function is essential for your organization’s maturity and growth.
While the fundamental role of a business’ finance function includes foundational processes such as an efficient month-end close process, balance sheet and internal controls management, and defined financial reporting, organizations, particularly growth-oriented businesses in the consumer products sector, should look to modernize the functionality of their entire financial operations to better support the business’ goal of driving shareholder value.
This is done by ensuring that finance is properly aligned to the organization’s strategy and is operating effectively from a people, process and technology standpoint, linking strategy to execution and moving away from reactive processes to proactive strategies. When finance positions itself as that strategic business partner to the lines of business, the organization realizes the following:
- Improved competitive advantage in the marketplace
- Automated process efficiencies and data analytic capabilities for improved business insights
- Enhanced decision-making
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Improved profitability
- Achieved strategic goals
2. The finance function’s increased visibility and interaction within your business has a real impact on decreasing operational and functional gaps and increasing return on investment.
Consumer product companies often experience challenges in efficiently managing critical operational and functional areas due to the complexity in delivering their products and services. Common areas of challenges or gaps in fully executing within the organization include:
- Demand planning
- Supply chain management
- Capacity planning
- Spend visibility and vendor management
- Budget and forecast design
Having a robust, mature and strategic finance function can offer meaningful and actionable management information by providing key performance indicators, profitability assessments, control monitoring, continuous improvement strategies and more. Partnering with finance allows an organization to rationalize, monitor and execute in an optimal and sophisticated way to increase the all-important return on investment on its many programs and initiatives. Utilizing the best resources to their strengths, investing in technology and new budgeting methods, and challenging the “way we’ve always done it” will allow organizations to succeed.
3. Finance function modernization and transformation affects many areas of your organization in a productive and lasting way.
The benefits of finance function modernization are far-reaching within a company. By stepping out of the comfortable spreadsheets and month-end closing cycle, finance can make a lasting impact on the organization. Forming strategic partnerships among the company’s lines of business allows for a better understanding of the key business areas, their needs and how to better serve them. It moves finance from “overhead” to a “partner” that has a voice in the business. If finance is assisting with analysis and planning, and is sought out when issues arise and when products or acquisitions are considered, the growth of the organization is fostered. Finance has a different, but needed, balancing perspective. And most importantly, finance provides meaningful, timely, actionable information to leaders to support the strategic vision of the business.