One of the things that can trip us up when we're business partnering is not delivering. Often those that end up in business partnering roles are those people who have a strong desire to help others achieve their goals and outcomes - financial or otherwise. This is frequently described as being 'in service'.
The challenge that we can face is one that has been distilled in our mindset from a very young age: the concept that being in service is about relinquishing control and letting someone else call the shots. After all, we're here to give them what we want, aren't we? Those who blindly answer yes, are at risk of becoming 'yes people'. This is a sure-fire way to disappoint.
Being in service means being setting yourself up in a way that ensures you can deliver on the promises you make when working with your stakeholder. This means you have a team around you who you know, will - in essence - be in service of you.
All of finance are in the business of client service. Many of us just haven't realised yet.
What does that mean?
Everyone in Finance needs to have an 'in-service' mindset. Everyone: from the CFO to the accounts payable clerk, needs to be talking about the important role they play in partnering with the business.
• without accurate numbers, accurate analysis can't be undertaken. Insights can't be generated. Funding can't be raised.
• without money coming in, there is no money to survive. When we don't pay money, no one wants to do business with us, we become irresponsible custodians of money.
• without the ability for systems to generate useful reports, insights fail to be relevant and the heavy manual intervention required increases susceptibility of error.
• without timely information, the business can't make timely commercial decisions.
• without a partnership with the business, information doesn't flow freely to Finance. Budgets and forecasts are inaccurate. Expectations are mismanaged, targets are missed.
Without the right conversation, none of this happens as we all focus on our own backyards.
Connect cross functionally
Take the first step, and open up a dialogue across your whole team. Clearly articulate everyone's role in the context of what your business does. If a process map floats your team's boat - draw it up on a whiteboard. In whatever mechanism that will work for them, make that connection for them. You'll be amazed at the impact it has on quality, timeliness and relevance.
Love to hear how your conversation went!