Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

The Value-Creating Finance Team - Do You Fit In?

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

The Value-Creating Finance Team - Do You Fit In?

Article excerpt

The practice of redesigning and re-populating the finance function has brutally engaged the leading organizations of today. This challenge is precipitated primarily by an implicit corporate strategy to become "leaner, meaner, and faster." The ultimate objective for these companies is to secure a strategically and tactically-focused flexible team of financial professionals - expert advisers in "across-the-board" business and management. What kind of a professional does this call for?

Characteristics of a value-creating finance team

The value-creating finance team is an assemblage of top performers, delivering results that reflect the sells in demand by the organization. While it may be difficult to identify specifics for all organizations, here are some broad-based attributes that characterize the sells that are currently in demand by several leading organizations.

The new finance team members must:

* have the ability to serve as financial advisers/managers on cross-functional business teams;

* possess the flexibility to deal quickly with change, and demonstrate instant returns;

* exhibit strength in relationship management and process skills;

* lead the organization's business planning processes (operating, strategic, acquisitions and divestitures);

* be recognized as integral contributors to the decision-making process;

* display well-developed inquisitive and analytical mindsets;

* earn acceptance into internal business partnerships, with demonstrated results.

While these characteristics are what today's modern organizations are seeking, they may not find very much evidence of them in the ranks of their financial personnel. According to a recent Management Accounting Guideline published by the Society of Management Accountants (MAG 43), more than 84 per cent of traditional finance function activities are associated with transaction processing, control and risk management. This leaves us little or no time to partner with the rest of the organization in value-creating activities. So, how do you get yourself into the sought-after category?

Creating a finance-career portfolio

Drawing on work published by Tupper Cawsey and Gene Deszca of Wilfrid Laurier University, in a "portfolio career," the financial professional has a portfolio of sells for sale to organizations. …

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