The critical audit questions for today’s High Performance Finance Business Partner

Is Your Finance Function Delivering Enough Value?

All too often in business when it comes to reviewing support functions it is the IT and HR functions that often get the bulk of criticism. However we think the continuing challenge of staying ahead in business now means that many Finance functions are now under scrutiny to demonstrate their worth and value-added. Like any other function, finance is a cost - even though you seldom hear that comment! - and like other functions it imposes a lot of demands on a business in terms of systems, processes and compliance obligations. The key question is are we getting sufficient value for this sunk cost.

Many finance functions are drowning under the complexity of their systems and reporting regimes. The result is that their focus is often on their internal processes and needs and not those of the business or customer. The danger is that Finance then becomes an island – viewed as remote, distant and not easy to access by business managers.

Below are listed are some of the key audit question that aspiring and high performance finance colleagues should be asking of themselves and their team

  1. Is our management information reliable and credible in the eyes of line managers?
  2. Are we aligning, improving and implementing financial systems and work processes that support the business in achieving its goals. Are we constantly striving to simplify our processes and wherever possible eradicate complexity?
  3. Are we ensuring that all our systems and processes comply to internal and external standards and requirements in a credible and business focused way as opposed to being seen as unnecessarily bureaucratic, heavy handed or restricting?
  4. Are we providing high value added “early warning” data and intelligence on business risks and opportunities to avoid any business surprises and exploit valuable opportunities?
  5. Are we able to coherently and persuasively communicate key financial indicators and drivers to the overall vision of the business?
  6. Are we influencing the business agenda with real impact and credibility? Are we fully engaged with all key business leaders and regularly challenging them on important business and financial indicators?
  7. Are we viewed as trusted business partners to whom business leaders immediately reach out to for help, counsel and advice in terms of navigating complex business challenges?
  8. Are we as a finance function seen as an essential and indispensable team member

At PPI we believe our Business Partner Programme enables finance professionals to reflect on these questions and generate real insights into the behaviours required to move to a high value-added Business Partner. Click here for more info about the program.


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.