Finance Leadership Blog

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Empowering Finance as a Strategic Business Partner

finance leadership relationships Mar 07, 2024

The role of finance extends far beyond traditional bookkeeping and number-crunching.

It's about building robust partnerships across the organisation, positioning finance professionals as indispensable allies in strategic decision-making.

This evolution transforms finance into a pivotal force for driving business performance and innovation.

Understanding Business Partnering

At its core, business partnering is about forging strong, collaborative relationships that bridge finance with various operational departments.

It's also not about finance pestering Heads of with loads of questions so they can understand the historical numbers better for the Management accounts commentary.

It's a strategic alliance where finance professionals leverage their expertise to influence decisions, shape business strategy, and drive growth.

Examples of Successful Finance Business Partnerships

  1. Collaboration with Marketing: Consider a scenario where the finance team works closely with marketing to evaluate the ROI of different channels. By providing insightful analysis and financial modelling, finance helps marketing to allocate resources effectively, maximising campaign outcomes.

  2. Strategic Alliance with Operations: In another example, finance partners with the operations team to streamline supply chain processes. Through detailed cost analysis and efficiency metrics, finance identifies opportunities for cost savings and operational improvements, directly impacting the bottom line.

  3. Innovation with Product Development: Finance also plays a crucial role in product development, offering insights into cost implications, pricing strategies, and market analysis. This partnership ensures that new products not only meet customer needs but also align with the company's financial goals.

Enabling Finance as a Business Partner

  1. Cultivate Trust and Credibility: Trust is the foundation of any successful partnership. Finance professionals earn trust by consistently delivering accurate, timely information and by demonstrating integrity in all interactions.

  2. Demonstrate Value Beyond Numbers: To be seen as a true business partner, finance must transcend traditional reporting. This involves providing strategic insights, forecasting future trends, and recommending actions that align with the company's strategic objectives.

  3. Engage in Open Communication: Regular, open communication with department heads and key stakeholders is essential. Finance should seek to understand the unique challenges and objectives of each department, tailoring their support to meet these specific needs.

  4. Leverage Technology and Tools: Utilising modern financial tools and technologies, like advanced analytics, AI, and collaborative platforms, enhances the finance team's ability to provide timely, actionable insights, further solidifying their role as strategic partners.

  5. Focus on Continuous Improvement: The business landscape is constantly evolving, and so should the partnership between finance and other departments. Regularly review and refine your approach to business partnering, seeking feedback and adapting to changing business needs.

Building Business Relationships

Developing strong business partnerships requires a proactive approach.

It's no good waiting for the leaders of the business to approach you.  You're the support function and therefore if you want to define and grow the finance business partnership, its up to you.

Firstly, identify key stakeholders and departments where finance can add the most value.

Then, initiate conversations about their goals, challenges, and how finance can support them.

Over time, these partnerships will flourish, elevating the role of finance from a support function to a strategic cornerstone of the business.

Finance's journey from traditional accounting roles to strategic business partners is transformative, enabling organisations to navigate the complexities of the modern business world more effectively.

By focusing on building strong partnerships, finance leaders can ensure they not only have a seat at the decision-making table but also play a crucial role in shaping the future of their organisations.


    1. Try our Quiz!  Financial Leadership Foundations Scorecard.  
    2. Join our next Workshop on the FLF Framework.
    3. Work with me in the Financial Leadership Foundations course  that includes monthly Q&A sessions where we can discuss all of your questions and how to apply your learnings to your current role. 
    4. Work with me as a Founder needing guidance and support from experienced Finance leaders. Take a look at our guide on Outsourced bookkeeping.





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