How to Become Strategic & Innovative Finance Professional

Do you get it? Are you strategic? How often have you overheard a group talking about a finance professional & saying, “She/he just doesn’t get it”? Do they say that about you?

Well, accounting & finance professionals have always been perceived as less strategic & less innovative

So, let’s focus this week on how to build your strategic thinking & innovation skills.

Ability to think strategically & innovatively is essential for every individual for his/her career success (as it can help them differentiate from the crowd) as well as it can add tremendous amount of value to the organization.

These are the 3 disciplines of strategic thinking you can develop. Acumen, Allocation & Action.

1 Acumen– It’s all about generating key business insights. One of the interesting paradoxes of strategy is that in order to elevate one’s thinking to see “the big picture,” one must first dive below the surface of the issues to uncover insight. A strategic insight is a new idea that combines two or more pieces of information to affect the overall success of the business and lead to competitive advantage. Question to ask is “What is the key insight driving this initiative, project or activity?”

2 Allocation- Once the insights have been generated through the Acumen discipline, one has the key ingredient in making resource allocation decisions. The definition of strategy begins with “The intelligent allocation of limited resources…”. Resource allocation is at the core of strategy & the key role of finance leaders. Discussions of strategy boil down to how to allocate limited resources to maximize business potential. Question to ask is “What trade-offs will I make to focus resources?”

3. Action- It’s often assumed that once a sound strategy has been formulated, the execution of that strategy will take care of itself. Research seems to indicate otherwise. A survey of more than 400 companies showed 49 percent of business leaders report a gap between their organization’s ability to articulate a strategic vision & their effectiveness in executing that vision. The effective action or execution of strategy involves the discipline to focus on the important issues, not the urgent ones filling up our email Inbox. Question to ask Is What actions can I take to achieve advantage?

Following are the 3 key skills you need to build & hone in order to enhance your innovator’s DNA to act more strategically:

1, Courage to innovate- Successful innovators consistently show the courage to Innovate, which means they challenge the status quo, take smart risks to make change happen & feel confident in their
creative capacity.

2, Discovery Skills- These skills refer to the set of skills that contribute to one’s ability to generate novel insights that result in new products, processes, or business models.

3, Delivery Skills- These skills refer to the important set of skills that contribute to one’s ability to execute on a business plan, thereby delivering impressive financial results.

If you would like to develop these skills and competencies and aspire to transform your finance & accounting careers in order to become world class strategic finance leader by learning from globally renowned experts in Finance Transformation , Emerging Technologies, Analytics, Finance Business Partnering & Leadership, then you should explore our variety of virtual training programs using below link

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10 things to keep in place before starting Finance transformation Project

Finance transformation (FT) is a process that can bring real value to your business by making it more efficient, informed and strategic, but it requires time, resources & commitment.

1. Gain Buy In (Align Mindsets) – Ensure your thinking behind FT aligns with the strategic business vision. FT doesn’t work in isolation. You need to take into confidence all the key stakeholders by explaining why of FT and how it can add true value to the overall business with its ROI. Ensure to communicate all the project requirements including time, resources, budgets etc. to the senior leadership team. Also ensure that the mindset of your finance staff is aligned with the mindset of senior leadership team.

2. People & Skills Review- A crucial aspect of finance transformation is people. Be ready to find skills gaps & to take advantage of your team’s specialisms with a curated review process that reflects your company goals and project goals.

3. Support & Change Management – FT requires support from non-finance business functions in the form of support networks in order to help your finance department & rest of the company embrace new ways of doing things in order to avoid slipping back into old habits and culture.

4. Systems & Tools – Objectively reviewing your tools & software will be vital for finance transformation. You need to fully document what your finance function needs, what tools you currently have & what they are used for and how you can leverage digital technologies.

5. Collaboration With The IT Department-Discuss the internal technical requirements ahead of time. Do more than just keep IT informed – collaborate with them. You you must ensure your business’ IT architecture is ready for change.

6. Project Management- Decide who will be leading the project & who else will be heavily involved. Is there anything that will delay the project. Ideally, there should be cross-functional teams in order to ensure FT project bring forecast benefits to all the stakeholders, not just finance.

7. Assess Structural Changes In Finance & Prepare Its Requirements – If you are planning to re-structure finance organization with different options like shared-services, outsourcing, centers of excellence etc. then ensure to keep all vendors in loop from the start of the project.

8. Data Governance- Ensure availability of data, its accuracy, completeness & manage its velocity, variety & volume.

9. Collaborate With HR Function – Your people & skills may need adjusting as a result of the finance transformation project. Make sure HR is informed of your upcoming project and how this is likely to impact your hiring process & ideal future candidates

10. Establish Benchmarks & Baselines- You need to ensure you can prove ROI at the end to demonstrate the real value to both senior leadership & other stakeholders. You need to determine what metrics will you use to measure project success & how you will measure its progress.

Start your finance transformation journey now

If you would like to develop these skills and competencies and aspire to transform your finance & accounting careers in order to become world class strategic finance leader by learning from globally renowned experts in Finance Transformation , Emerging Technologies, Analytics, Finance Business Partnering & Leadership, then you should explore our variety of virtual training programs using below link

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How Finance Function Fuels Company Growth

How do you know if your current Finance structure and capabilities are sufficient, or if it’s time to upgrade or make a change to your talent?

Following tips describe how people, processes and systems in finance can cause fuel when it comes to company’s growth.

1. Key Metrics, Data & Insights – Finance should not report just data and information to management & business partners. Finance should turn data into actionable insights and foresights by leveraging analytics to answer what’s going to happen and how can we make it happen in the form of actionable, integrated and future oriented KPIs (ensuring maximum forecast accuracy).

2. Leadership Team Meetings – Finance should provide all the relevant information to the business lines before the meetings, so the time spend during the meeting is to distill insights into actionable intelligence. It’s not possible for finance to generate insights by sitting in the finance or accessing the ERP, it should be discussed with the business partners in these meetings and then leverage analytics to generate insights as mentioned in point no.1.

3. M&A Deals – If company is opting for inorganic growth via mergers & acquisitions, finance leader should ensure that (apart from financial plan) there is a playbook with a plan to integrate teams, systems, culture etc.. in order to avoid any frictions & ensuring how you are going to unlock the value. Usually, accounting & finance teams are less involved as dealmakers don’t want finance slowing down the process, adding due diligence & potentially kiboshing the opportunity,

4. Systems & Processes – Some companies need small army to reconcile between business systems, ERP & excel reports and tremendous time is spent on these low value activities, causing errors as well and leaving less or no time for finance to contribute in high value activities. Companies having modern finance stack with business intelligence and advanced analytics enables them to grow their revenue say 115% while growing their headcount in Finance by just say 15%. Their business leaders can look at data visualizations and variances themselves in real-time. Their ERP has machine-learning capabilities which allows us to reforecast in a matter of minutes, which is something that used to take weeks in the past.

5. Fundraising – With lack of rock solid financials, it’s extremely painful for management to tell the story, as it takes a significant amount of management time and took people away from the day-to-day to get the data, build the deck and tell the story with the CEO. Solid financials makes your fundraising process much more painless and can actually impact your valuation because it gives potential buyers incredible confidence.

6. Finance Team Development – Most important strategic assets of any organization is people and same applies to finance organizations. Learning & development programme to upgrade the skills of finance teams is necessary to support overall business growth.

If you would like to develop these skills and competencies and aspire to transform your finance & accounting careers in order to become world class strategic finance leader by learning from globally renowned experts in Finance Transformation , Emerging Technologies, Analytics, Finance Business Partnering & Leadership, then you should explore our variety of virtual training programs using below link

Training & Coaching Programs

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8 Key Operating Principles For Strategic Finance Leaders / Finance Business Partners

Following are the 8 key operating principles for Strategic Finance Professionals including Finance Business Partners / FP&A Business Partners/Strategic CFOs to implement :

1. Never say no without giving options- Never reject any proposal of your business partners without having some conversation with them, Understand the business result they are trying to achieve and work with them on developing options.

2. Think in terms of the business- Don’t give them accounting reasons behind expenses or revenue variation that you made accruals or deferred income etc.. Give the business reason behind everything. Look behind the numbers to articulate the story of what happened, where & why did it happened and then what’s going to happen next and how can we make it happen.
Focus on both the traditional side of the business and new growth / innovation side of the business.

3. Integrated Business Approach- Best way to develop this approach is to keep open communication within finance function as well as with other business functions so that everyone is aware of what other functions are thinking and their impact on others. Create culture of open communication and deliver integrated reports rather than traditional financial reports.

4. Early warning signals- Never give them surprises and always try to anticipate risks and opportunities in advance by communicating and discussing all symptoms of potential risk and opportunities upfront.

5. Alignment with business- While transforming finance function to play more business centric role, always align with the business leaders on the sources of value creation for the future, then work backward to redesign finance function around them

6. Build new & deeper specializations in finance – rotate resources within the finance function to different business units & functions and work on different cross-functional projects to get deep dive understanding of different aspects of business and what are the key sources of value creation in the business

7. Focus more on value creation- Don’t just focus on the tangible assets and short-term profit maximization, rather focus on intangible assets like customer relationships, corporate brand, culture, leadership, employees relationships etc. in order to ensure long term value creation for the business for all key stakeholders not just shareholders

8. Right Investment in technology- While making investment decisions in emerging tech, always first think of the potential problems and challenges in your organization & its business & then work with their vendors to customize such technology to solve them, don’t just take ready made technologies and re-design your business according to them.

If you would like to develop these skills and competencies and aspire to transform your finance & accounting careers in order to become world class strategic finance leader by learning from globally renowned experts in Finance Transformation , Emerging Technologies, Analytics, Finance Business Partnering & Leadership, then you should explore our variety of virtual training programs using below link

Training & Coaching Programs

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PERSONAL & PUBLIC LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Seven Shifts Towards The Mastery Of Great Leadership

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PERMC_dbUKU&t=353s

Awaken The Leader Within You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROzEQZ7HXUM&t=472s

Inspired Approaches To Leadership Thinking & Practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rzMybMv2PQ&t=986s

Communication & Story Telling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U61OBfjrZj0&t=1196s

Wellness 360 For Finance Professionals

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZNx8yp0uvk&t=250s

Champion Yourself, Combat The COVID-19 Recession and Optimize Your Career Management Now!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYI5pq3Bt38&t=250s

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FINANCE TRANSFORMATION

Finance Transformation Roadmap By FAI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws719jbRGoA&t=67s

Finance Tranformation – Reporter to Strategist By FAI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIOhAh8xLIo&t=240s

Transition From Accountant To Strategic Leader

Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BdyN6RgqwE&t=17s

Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR4EOqQNsMQ&t=437s

Financial Reporting Transformation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xeexHTe9N0&t=205s

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