By Andy Burrows
I’ve worked in many businesses, and only two of them had what I would have judged to be a proper grip on change projects. In the other ones, senior Finance people would sometimes talk disparagingly about certain projects, and almost ‘tut’ with disapproval in seeing projects underdelivering and overrunning on time and costs.
I never had much time for that kind of ‘standing-on-the-side-lines’ mentality. It’s always struck me that there’s so much we can do in Finance to help projects succeed, rather than standing watching them crash and burn, wringing our hands, as if it’s some sort of spectator-sport.
So, here are seven observations – things that I think Finance can easily improve that will give change projects in our businesses more of a fighting chance.
First of all, I don’t always get the impression that Finance business partners really appreciate...
By Andy Burrows
Finance Transformation programmes will often include something like the following line in their business case: “Capacity created by automation and process efficiency will be reinvested in value-adding activity.”
Sounds great, doesn’t it? What could possibly be wrong with that?
Well, as an aspiration, it’s got a lot going for it. The trouble is, no one really believes it and it hardly ever happens. In fact, the opposite often happens. The capacity created is turned into cost savings, which leave even less time for “value-adding” activity than before.
So, if you really want a value-adding Finance function, don’t let your Finance Transformation programme become all about cost savings. And be clearer on how Finance adds value.
First, lest you misunderstand me, let me say that automation and process efficiency are good things.
When I look back on the revolution caused by computerisation 20-30 years ago,...
By Andy Burrow
[First published 21st March 2017]
[This article is also on LinkedIn - why not "Follow+" Andy and give the article a "like"?]
How can a purpose-driven approach help Finance managers and CFOs to prevent their businesses from wasting money on projects?
Over the course of this series, I’ve been looking at business Finance activities from what I’ve called a “purpose-driven” perspective. I have set out to investigate whether examining, and being explicit about, the reasons why we do things, actually changes or influences the way we do them. If you haven't seen it already, take a look at the introductory article that explains the thinking behind the approach: The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 1: Introduction. That, fittingly, tells you why I’m asking the ‘why’ questions!
I’ll give you the links to the other articles in the series at the end.
A project is, “an individual or collaborative...
By Andy Burrows
[First published 11th March 2017]
“There’s no such thing as an IT project. All projects in business are business projects.” That was a tweet I put out a while back. And it drew a response from a young programmer.
“By the same logic, there’s no such thing as a construction project either. Erecting a new office building is pure business,” he tweeted back. And the exchange continued.
So, I thought it might be good to explain what I mean when I say that there’s no such thing as an IT project.
Firstly, why pick on IT?
Well, in business circles over the last 50 years it has become common to think of IT and software development when talking about projects. If you say the word ‘project’ in a business setting, people will think you are talking about IT. The reasons for that are probably related to the fact that methodologies developed for running projects, such as PRINCE2, initially applied to projects...
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