Monday, December 10, 2012 4:48 PM
View other posts by Robert Emerson
Adam Smith is a new manager in the financial planning & analysis (FP&A) function at XYZ Corporation. He has found himself in the middle of interfunctional strife between the other functions he supports. This strife has not only led to Adam working to overcome a general suspicion of finance, but also trying to create more accurate budgets and forecasts, which are the primary focus of his job.
Adam realizes that building better relationships between finance and other organizational functions can lead to both better communication and financial planning. He decides he will see what proactive steps he can take to effectively partner with the other operating functions.
Adam begins by applying communication practices that will enable him to better partner with the other functions. These include identifying areas that would benefit from custom reporting, striving to improve face-to-face communication, and ensuring he treats others with integrity and evenhandedness.
Adam also recognizes that the suspicion of financial processes is driven by lack of understanding and fear. Rather than react defensively, he explains how various company-wide financial processes function, including how budgeting and forecasting work and clarifying how bonuses are calculated. He also helps with more specific financial processes that may affect individual departments such as accruals or internal audits. He finds that his efforts reduce cynicism about these financial processes and lead to better information sharing and accurate data.
As an FP&A professional, it is likely you may find yourself in a situation similar to that of Adam. While it is your responsibility to create accurate forecasts and budgets, depending on how those processes have been handled in the past, you may find that accuracy is largely absent from the process. Worse, you may find that other functions feel you are trying to limit them or keep them from achieving their goals. Such interfunctional rivalry can be both poisonous to your organization and prohibit good planning that would be beneficial for everyone.
How strong are the business-partnering practices of your finance team? Does your finance team foster positive interfunctional relationships? The Accenture Academy course Identifying Effective Finance Business Partnering Practices introduces FP&A professionals to strategic practices and tactics to help them master the art of building relationships and achieving better organizational results. This course outlines effective practices, unique approaches, and mindsets that enable you as an FP&A professional to respond to and support other functions effectively