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Are Finance Business Partners only for big companies?

By Andy Burrows

There is a common frustration among Finance Business Partners.

Many of them almost feel as if they have been mis-sold the role.

They were promised that they’d be close to the business, as writers like me keep saying we must be in Finance. They were promised involvement in important discussions and strategic decisions. They were promised freedom from mundane number crunching.

And yet one of the biggest complaints from Finance Business Partners is that they still seem to spend too much time compiling reports, checking numbers, drilling down, building forecasts, and writing commentaries. And they hardly have any time left to spend with the non-finance colleagues they’re supposed to be partnering with.

And, to be clear, I’m talking about the way that Finance Business Partners feel about their jobs, not the way that others may criticise them.

So, for instance, this is a question that was sent to me during a recent Finance careers event:

“I am...

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Finance isn't just a cost centre... but how do you convince management?

By Andy Burrows

One thing I’ve realised recently is that, in the minds of Finance professionals, the questions over the place and value of the Finance function are closely linked with questions about their careers.

I don’t know why it suddenly dawned on me. It’s kind of obvious when I think about it!

Perhaps it’s just that when I asked a little while ago what questions people had about Finance careers, I didn’t expect to get questions like this one:

“How can you convince top management that the Finance department is not just a cost centre, but way more?”

There were other questions similar to that, but I’ll write about those perhaps in other articles.

Being merely a cost is a career dead-end

Clearly, if we are just seen as costs in the business, then that’s a bit of a dead-end in terms of careers.

The thing any business wants to do with costs is to reduce them. So, if Finance is just a cost, then the only thing you’d want to...

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If you want to be a CFO, develop these 3 skills...

By Andy Burrows

There are three areas of skills you need to develop if you want to be a good Chief Financial Officer or Finance business partner – business acumen, technical skills and behavioural skills.

And my intention is to unpack these three areas a little bit, so that you can get to grips with planning your development journey more effectively.

In my last article I shared my belief that Finance business partner is the new best route to a CFO role. That is to say, core CFO skills are Finance business partnering skills. And well-developed Finance business partnering skills are what you need to be a CFO.

That’s why I’m talking about the two together, and why I believe that if your ambition is to be a CFO, you ought to be thinking about the same areas of skill that Finance business partners need.

And since with any skill you can’t develop it without practice, what better practice for a CFO role than a Finance business partner role?

So, let me tell you about...

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