The role of a Finance Business Partner varies from business to business. It's influenced largely by the company size and wider business engagement. In the world of Finance, the Finance Business Partner (FBP) is still an evolving role. However, the ICAEW Thought Leadership 2014 group has put together a good summary:
“Business partners tend to have a genuine interest in what makes the organisation tick. They want to understand how money is made, why initiatives succeed and fail and what the competition is doing.”
Based in Industry, the FBP is the conduit between the Finance team and other business areas (Sales, Marketing and Operations). As an Finance Business Partner you’ll support and advise their strategic and operational decision-making. You'll use informed insights, backed by data that will drive better business performance.
The day to day of your role as a FBP will include:
- Interpret and explain data to drive better, informed performance.
- Up-skill yourself about the industry, competitors and economic context. Present the potential impacts these could have.
- Build key stakeholder relationships.
- Support and influence key operation and strategic decisions.
- Use data modelling to advise on business planning, trade-offs and opportunities.
You’ll sit within the Finance function, working closely with the Management Accountants and Analysts who look after the core finance; reporting and management activities. You’ll be forward looking and provide insights based on industry, economic trends and competitor dynamics. It’ll be critical to keep yourself up to date on the market conditions and potential resulting financial impacts. You’ll study the operational performance of the business through different lenses to bring new perspectives, using tools like;
return on capital │ activity based costings │ customer & channel profitability
You will bring structured processes and methodologies. Ensure rigour when evaluating different options, introducing benchmarks, consulting techniques and frame discussions. This will at times be backed by examples from other companies and industries to give context to the discussions. This is where your soft skills will be essential to provide rounded opinions and clear recommendations.
What skills do you need to be a high performing Finance Business Partner?
If you’re going to succeed as an FBP you’ll need strong technical and soft skills - like the ability to build relationships. To be effective you’ll need to practice these vital skills each day to build rapport and credibility;
listen │ interpret │ influence │ negotiate │ challenge │ Adaptable to change
To find out more about Finance Business Partner opportunities and others like this, please give the Element team a call on 0117 369 9000 or follow Element Recruitment on LinkedIn.
To find out more, read CIMA's Whitepaper on Mastering Finance Business Partnering. If you're interested in further reading, try the CGMA's report on Finance Business Partnering.