How Financial Business Partners Can Help Grow Businesses
A financial business partner can provide many advantages to a company beyond simply putting up cash. In many cases their involvement may grow or even become the driving force behind a business. So what do financial business partners actually do? Here are some of their functions that can prove indispensable to a company.
They help manage performance
A good financial business partner will always have an eye on your business’ numbers. They should be highly adept at analyzing profits, losses, and expenses.
They present recommendations and help with tactical planning
After a partner has evaluated and analyzed numbers, they should synthesize that information into a plan of action. They will then present that plan to owners and other partners, if applicable, and make recommendations to combat weaknesses, reinforce strengths, and achieve growth.
The next part of the cycle
Based on these points, it could be easy to confuse a financial business partner with a business controller or financial analyst. There certainly are some overlapping skills and functions. But to differentiate, it’s important to look at the following cycle.
As we’ve covered, they start with performance management, which flows to presentation of recommendations, and that leads to the tactical planning of initiatives. The next logical part of this cycle is execution, and this is where the differentiation occurs. Unlike employees functioning in other roles, the financial business partner is NOT involved in execution.
In the tactical planning part of the cycle, the business partner will work with management/owners to designate the point people on their staff to handle the execution. The reason this is a cycle is that at this point the business partner’s function reverts to the beginning, the performance management part of the cycle.
The cycle begins again
Now, performance management will be based on the measurable goals set forth in the tactical planning. As the cycle starts over and continues, new recommendations will be made based on staff’s ability to deliver on the execution front. From there, tactics will be developed to meet those recommendations, and management and staff will handle execution, which takes us back to the beginning of the cycle.
It’s of course important to agree upon a reasonable amount of time to allow for successful execution before the financial business partner starts the cycle over with performance management. This can be done in the tactical planning process.
A financial business partner will offer insight, expertise, and accountability. The business partner cycle will help them empower employees, measure success, and make changes when needed.