'The ‘Transforming the finance function’ Mastercourse'

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This one-day course is designed to show the next generation of finance professionals why they need to broaden their scope if they are to add greater value to their organisations – and how to do it.

The intended bottom-line outcome is good financial performance management based on a clear understanding of the organisation’s strategic objectives.

The course, managed by BPP Professional Education, covers all aspects of why finance teams have to transform their approach, presenting an overview of the reasons.

The need for change is unrelenting, with the biggest driver being the growing demand for the finance function to play a greater role at a strategic level – and not only in determining financial strategy.

Transforming finance is a never-ending journey of change, because the business environment is evolving constantly, as is the organisation. I start the course by considering how financial professionals can transform the function with the help of powerful management accounting tools.

This means not only collating numbers but also looking at what’s driving the organisation to get to those numbers. In doing so, finance professionals become finance partners, working with peers in every part of the organisation to add tangible value.

As a result, the finance function can be considered not as a cost but rather as a value generator.

Research by global management consultancy Hackett Group, which works with CIMA, has found that in best-practice organisations around the world up to half of the finance function works to support strategic decision-making.

I use case studies to highlight organisations where the finance function has made such a positive contribution using management accounting tools and techniques.

One of these is Shell, whose CFO, Simon Henry, identified that the finance function added 15 per cent to that group’s net present value at one point.

High-tech hints and tips
World-class performance as a finance professional can be achieved through contributing to an organisation’s strategy by making full use of big data and analytics – other areas that I cover on the course.

Applying these resources, the function can provide a futuristic view through predictive analytics and enhance the insights that the organisation derives from using key performance indicators, activity-based costing and high-level variance analysis.

When you combine management techniques such as lean and Six Sigma with social media platforms and business intelligence tools, the impact can be significant, making the management accountant a dynamic member of the team.

It can mean working as a partner to sales in the field or as a production partner in the factory. Management accountants must therefore have “skin in the game”, as Warren Buffett puts it.

This means that if a business outcome is successful they will receive plaudits for their contribution. Conversely, if it fails they will accept responsibility along with others on the project.

The ultimate impact of finance transformation is working smarter rather than harder. This could entail a reduction in the size of the function as management accountants become even more integrated into the organisation.

To some degree the function as we know it may become extinct before long. It’s clear to me that financial professionals must change to offer a far more dynamic and value-adding proposition.

For further details about “Transforming the finance function”, visit www.cimamastercourses.com

Photo: Getty Images





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