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Finance transformation without new software or shared services

By Andy Burrows

This article was inspired by a comment someone made a while ago when I was talking recently about innovation within Finance: “Can innovation in finance be as simple as: Put away the spreadsheets! Get off email! And absorb yourself in the business! It seems simple but is it innovative…?”

That struck a chord with me. It would be quite a new and different thing for many Finance people to spend more of their time with the business. It's not what we'd normally class as innovation, but the definition of 'innovation' is just the application of something new to bring about an improvement.

The big question is ‘why?’

The big question is 'why?' What benefit would there be from Finance people spending more time with non-Finance people in the business? Are we saying that there is more value in simple conversations with non-Finance business managers than spending time on the spreadsheets we love (and love to hate)? How can that be?

Many people may...

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Another Brick in the Finance Wall – We Don’t Need No Innovation!

By Andy Burrows

This is my second article looking at the relationship of Finance with innovation. In the other article I shared a few thoughts on how Finance can support strategic business innovation, which benefits customers and provides competitive advantage.

This time I want to turn my attention to innovation within Finance, affecting what we do on a day to day basis.

What is innovation?

One question we’d probably better get sorted in our minds is, what is innovation?

I remember attending a presentation a while back. In it they expressed great concern that a survey showed very few CFOs had priorities in innovation within Finance. (Well, of course, they did. The event was sponsored by one of the big software vendors! Ok, I’m being cynical, I know!)

And I sat there thinking, what do they mean by innovation?

And why is it such a high priority thing to do?

We’re all so busy. And some software sales person comes along and says we really need to consider their...

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How Finance Can Support Strategic Business Innovation

By Andy Burrows

Two innovation problems for Finance

When we think about the attitude of Finance towards innovation, there are two key questions:

  1. What should our attitude be towards business innovation? And,
  2. What should our attitude be towards internal innovation within Finance?

I’ll deal with the second question in another article.

But, before I kick off let me be honest about my thinking about innovation and Finance.

I approach innovation, whether in business or Finance, with a mixture of scepticism and mind-boggled wonder.

I am still staggered when I think of the rate of change over my working life. The internet, mobile communication, digital music and photography, to name but a few. Life has been transformed in less than 30 years.

And in order to achieve that, brave entrepreneurs – the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg – had to take risks with their new inventions. They reaped the rewards, and continue to do so.

And there have been hard lessons...

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