Delivering finance information for effective Finance Business Partnering
For a leading consumer brand organisation
A leading consumer brand organisation recognised the importance of Finance Business Partnering to their organisation and set out to increase the Partnering activities conducted by Finance. However, it quickly became apparent that these partnering activities were being hindered by poor quality decision making, an inflexible organisation and a costly Finance function. These factors were preventing the effective delivery of quality finance information to the wider business.
The Finance Leadership recognised that to achieve their ambition to increase Finance Business Partnering activity a major transformation was required, which would improve the availability, quality and types of information used by Finance. The transformation required a clear definition of the information needed by Finance Business Partners to support the business. Changes to the financial management system and the supporting reporting systems architecture would then also be necessary, in order to provide this wide-ranging financial information.
The finance leadership asked Deloitte to lead in the development of a clear strategy for defining and delivering this information requirement. Data quality and structures, technology, process, organisation and governance were all considered as a part of the programme of work.
Deloitte worked with Finance leadership to understand how the Finance Information Strategy was linked to other Finance and IT change programmes, and then to agree a set of focus areas that would allow Deloitte and Finance team members to develop the strategy. To develop the Finance Information Strategy, Deloitte led work across four areas:
- Definition of the Finance Information Requirements: Deloitte set out to help the organisation define a common set of information requirements needed to partner effectively with the business, a complex task given the organisation operated with multiple brands in multiple markets. The activity centred on the recognised value drivers of the business that would be the focus for the improved business partnering capability. Information requirements and gaps were identified by c.40 key stakeholders and the results assimilated into a set of key reporting themes. These themes were recognisable within Finance as supporting their Business Partnering priorities (e.g. Customer and channel profitability, cash forecasting and reporting). Exploring the current and future requirements against these themes produced a set of initiatives which the Finance organisation could focus on to achieve both quick wins and longer term improvements in the quality, granularity and availability of information.
- Definition of a Conceptual Information Model: A high-level Global Financial Data Model was designed in parallel, which articulated what information was required and at which level of granularity. The Deloitte team worked to understand the current information landscape and future strategic priorities within the business, making it possible to map both current and future value improvements against the key themes previously identified. This helped the organisation to confirm the type and granularity of information required to deliver the Finance Business Partnering reporting requirements.
- Definition of a Governance Model: A Global Governance Model was defined and implemented using the standardised Deloitte Governance Framework. This framework, covering processes and organisation associated with the new Information Model, would drive and coordinate the delivery of the Finance Information Strategy through the identification of accountabilities and ownership across the different data sets.
- Assessment of the Global System and Data Architecture: The current system architecture was reviewed against the Conceptual Information Model to assess the optimal platform for the delivery of global financial management reporting that could provided the information identified.
The Finance Information Strategy provides a structure by which to develop the information required that allows the Finance organisation to perform its Finance Business Partnering activities effectively. The model sets out a common set of data and information requirements across business units and takes into account their future priorities. The strategy serves as a platform for a transformation programme that will deliver substantial tangible and intangible benefits, including:
- Increased data quality and a single version of the truth across the organisation for Finance information.
- Improved quality of decision making, with improved insight into business priority areas and value drivers.
- Standardisation and simplification of information processes and clearer accountability and ownership for data definitions and governance.
- Improved organisational flexibility, with an information model designed to adapt well to business changes.