Unlocking business value through effective Finance Business Partnering
For a leading global pharmaceutical company
The finance Leadership recognised that, following a programme of activity to offshore much of Finance’s transaction processing activity, there was an opportunity to assess the performance of their retained ‘in-business’ Finance organisation. Their conclusion was that the Finance staff closest to the business were not successfully partnering with their counterparts to drive the business outcomes desired.
To date, it had not been clearly established where and how Finance could best add value to the organisation. It was also evident that improvements were needed to enhance the partnering capabilities of the retained organisation. As a result, the Finance Leadership wished to establish a Business Partnering Capabilities Framework that would set expectations for the required actions of Finance Business Partners, and that could be used to source and develop talent in future.
The organisation needed a tangible structure to explain and measure Finance Business Partnering capabilities. This structure also had to form part of a global strategy for Finance Business Partnering. This strategy was centred on developing and focusing the partnering organisation’s efforts to better support areas within the business where, through its involvement, Finance could help drive additional value.
A small Deloitte team worked with the client to establish:
- Priority Business Value Opportunities: Deloitte helped the Finance Leadership identify the key opportunities that the business wanted to pursue with Finance to generate more business value and increase shareholder return. The Leadership identified a small number of priority opportunities for Finance Business Partnering from a list of over $1bn of opportunities identified through Deloitte’s work with the business and Finance. These priorities were used as a pilot for the new Finance Business Partner strategy. This focused approach on just a portion of the overall opportunity gave Finance an increased chance of success with its Capability Framework and helped achieve business buy-in.
- Key Finance Value Events: Using Deloitte Finance capability and talent development expertise we identified where Finance needed to get involved/lead/orchestrate to bring insight and to influence the business’s value decisions.
Providing evidence of good partnering capability in real situations within the organisation was a key element of this work. Individuals identified as Finance Business Partner role models were involved in workshops with Finance and the business to define key Finance “Value Events”, the critical events in which Finance participated to drive value in the business.
Specific actions, decisions and outputs from Finance were explored. Competencies that these role models needed to be successful were then identified.
- Capabilities key to Finance Value Events: The definition of the mindset, skills, knowledge and behaviours that the business wanted their Finance team to display were then developed. These definitions used the specific examples found within the business, as well as the team’s expertise in competency development, to ensure the framework was relevant, and could be applied in practice.
- Dynamic Development Programme: To allow the Capability Framework to support the development of the Finance Business Partnering organisation on an ongoing basis, Deloitte assessed which of the existing learning & development channels would be most effective, such as on-the-job training, learning from others and training courses.
Soft skills are intangible and difficult to pinpoint: Through the identification and involvement of role models and their business counterparts Deloitte ensured that the outcomes from this work were tangible for existing teams, prescribing activities and capabilities that were specific and relevant to those using the framework.
Lack of buy-in: Engagement of both Business and Finance was essential to ensure the Framework was adopted across the whole of Finance and was accepted by the business. The personal engagement of Business Leadership to develop opportunities for Finance Business Partnering activity and the involvement of Finance’s business counterparts were critical to securing this type of change.
Higher Performance, through functional and personal excellence, leads to greater organisational value
Defining and embedding the Finance Business Partnering capabilities framework was identified as a critical enabler to unlocking c$1bn of value in the business. The framework allowed Finance Business Partners and their managers to drive specific learning and development plans, whilst also providing a central structure for the development of capabilities across the Finance Business Partnering organisation. This standardised framework set expectations within the whole organisation, will be used in recruitment, selection and assessment, and over time will be fully embedded into all Finance People Processes.