Helping finance professionals become accomplished business partners by extending their influence way beyond the simple “adding up” and “compiling and consolidation” of the numbers.

With the increasing onset of digitisation in the corporate world it’s clear that numbers are rapidly becoming a commodity. New intelligent software poses big challenges to finance professionals as traditional tasks and roles are set to be replaced by “smart” machines. At the PPI Network, we help finance professionals become accomplished business partners by extending their influence way beyond the simple “adding up” and “compiling and consolidation” of the numbers. We enable finance people to engage in wider business discussions about how their understanding of the numbers can influence real business outcomes and effect organisational change. The question of “value for money” has now extended well beyond IT and HR functions and finally reached the finance department. So, demonstrating real and insightful value added contributions is very much the challenge for many finance organisations.

To achieve this aim at PPI we will often discuss the “Q x A = S” equation. It’s a very simple but powerful way to explain a key challenge for many finance professionals.

The Q stands for the "Quality" of the work produced. It reflects the quality and accuracy of the financial numbers and reports produced and how strong any analysis or recommendations might be. In our experience of working with finance professionals across many major global companies the quality of what they produce is often indisputable. As many accounting staff have been trained by big accounting firms the integrity and robustness of their work can be regarded as very high. Most professionals are also highly motivated and skilled in the technical aspects of their work. They are used to working with a high degree of diligence and accuracy.

The A part of our equation stands for “Acceptance” and in our experience this is often the missing link for many finance professionals. Acceptance is not just about getting other people to listen to the quality of your analysis, work or recommendations. Rather “Acceptance” is about achieving buy-in and securing a commitment from others to implement action on the quality of your work.  In our view finance professionals, generally don’t have quality problems. If they do they are normally the result of inadequate investment in systems which result in people having to do lots of work arounds on spread sheets to generate the information the business really needs. For the most part the challenge is all about the “A.” There is little point being the smartest person in the room if you can’t get anyone to listen or more importantly support and then action your ideas or proposals.

When we combine high levels of “Quality” with “Acceptance” we deliver S for "Success"!

At the PPI Network, our whole approach to developing finance business partners is based on developing a skill set that is targeted at achieving high levels of “acceptance.” Our starting point is that finance professionals are good at the “quality” but that more effort and investment is needed on the “acceptance” side of the equation.

To develop the right behaviours and skills in this area we expose our clients to realistic business scenarios that reveal the critical challenges in gaining acceptance when providing any professional advice. We help to show that in some complex change cases, the mere application of logic and analysis - traditional strengths of finance professionals - may not always be sufficient to win over an executive audience. We also help individuals understand their own specific influencing strategies and explore the importance of “pushing and pulling” when seeking to persuade others. Too often many professionals will use a lot of pushing and assertion strategies to hammer home their point when in fact some slight movements to a more “pull” strategy will often yield far better outcomes. Conversely some finance professionals will avoid “pushing” and challenging even though they are convinced they are right. In such cases, they need to overcome “imagined” obstacles to achieve the desired level of “acceptance.”

But if you would like to find out more about how the PPI Network can help your finance professionals become high performance business partners and deliver the critical Q x A = Success equation contact Gerry Buckley on


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About the Author

Mark Thomas: Leading International Expert on Business Partnering

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas is an international business consultant, author and speaker specialising in business planning, managing change, human resource management and executive development. Prior to working with PPI he worked for several years with Price Waterhouse in London where he advised on the business and organisational change issues arising out of strategic reviews in both private and public sector organisations.