What role do you want your finance function to take during a Finance Transformation?

Posting date:02 Jan 2019

I recently asked my network what people are needed to deliver a successful Finance Transformation and received some incredible feedback from professionals not only answering this question but also, posing their own.

A Senior Commercial Finance Professional in my network believes a blended team works best and said: “You can’t solely rely on external consultants who bring the expertise but don’t know the business well enough while the in-house team cannot bear the burden of the full transformation along with doing their day jobs, not to mention a lack of expertise.

She said: “An external PM or a temp consultant is the optimum solution as this person’s sole responsibility is to manage the project without any ‘day job’ distractions” while a Finance Director in my network asked; “Why be so rigid in recruiting someone who has a specific job title or training for Finance Transformations when a little thought out-of-the-box could recruit a candidate with more chance of carrying out an effective Transformation?

Despite holding opposing views, one thing that was unanimous was the push for career diversity with my network supporting the idea of a mixed team and with this debate concluded the topic soon moved onto what role do you want your finance function to take?

A CFO in my network said: “It is true that someone needs relentless energy, drive and ability to motivate those around them but for a finance transformation to work a clear vision is needed and the question asked of what role do you want your finance function to take. This should be asked to others within the business, Operations, Sales, Marketing so as to understand their requirements as internal customers.”

Others seemed to provide the answers as a Finance Director commented: “Finance transformation is about creating a finance function with the right balance between controlling and partnering activities which is able to influence business leaders. Be pragmatic and keep it simple, fix your basic finance functions first so it can be run efficiently at lower costs, simplify the business model before undertaking any major systems improvements / implementation, invest in "added value" functions and don’t jump the steps.”

And speaking of steps, I caught up with an FP&A Leader who believes that finance transformation can and should take many. “From an ERP overhaul, streamlining and digitising the information flow, improving data analytics and reporting mechanisms, cutting unwanted layers and facilitating faster decision making, aligning operations with finance needs and vice versa but both cohesively focussed on organisation strategy and the list goes on. Pick a work stream and execute on it.”

With my network decided on the ideal team needed to lead a successful Finance Transformation, I would like to unravel this new debate and ask you – what role do you want your finance function to take during a Finance Transformation?

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