Job role: Finance business partner

The major role of a finance business partner is to act as a trusted adviser to the board of directors in an organization, someone that will assist in the decision making of the company.

Finance business partners are individuals who are qualified in accountancy and who work hand in hand with a particular business department of a firm and helps to build a genuine and dynamic relationship between the workforce and the board of directors of the firm. The capacity to convey information in a flawless and approachable manner, relay their message and to have a mutual understanding with their audience is very critical to them succeeding in their line of work.

What is to be expected of a finance business partner?

A finance business partner ought to be comfortable with taking the risk and working with uncertainty.

A finance business partner must be able to understand data and assess its value before presenting his conclusions to the relevant authority in the organisation.

They should be able to translate between finance and operations.

They enthusiastically impact the day to day decisions, influencing policy and the guidelines of the business.

A finance business partner must be able to make solid decisions and stand by them and also have a well vast knowledge of ethics and be prepared to stand up for his decisions.

They should possess strong business skills like management and presentational skills.

They should be economically aware and be able to anticipate the needs of the company they work for.

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What are the basic skills a finance business partner should possess?

Decision-making skills: the role of a finance business partner involves making key decisions for the good of the company. A finance business partner will get involved with new initiatives and generally offer support to commercial decision makers. Mostly, the work of a finance business partner will be project-based, looking at precise customer fields and business policies.

Communication skills: finance business partners interpret the raw data and communicate this plainly particularly to contemporaries outside the finance function in marketing, sales, production; a role which puts them at the center of the business. The task is to take the fragments of data, order them, assess their value and then present the results to the appropriate sponsors in an expressive way. The opportunity is to become the interface or ‘translator’ between the languages of finance and operations, to tell the story, to paint a captivating picture. Success in this role requires a mix of commercial insight, logical skills, and an ability to build interactions, to connect excellently and to convince.

Ability to accept change: one of the greatest skills of a finance business partner is the ability to manage change as they come in the business. A finance business partner should not only be prepared for change but also should be able to progress with it and own the changes as they show up.

Perseverance: expert finance business partners take everything one step at a time and never let their frustrations get the better part of them. Anything can happen at any time with problems stretching from incorrect data to uncooperative investors but the ability to be patient is what makes one a great finance business partner.

Motivating headship: the best finance business partners lead by example and are inspiring to their team. They are positive, cooperative, and calm and have a supportive influence on the people they lead.

A representative for an economic function: a lot of people in business will experience a time where they need to rebuild the relationship with the business that they are in association with. Maybe they find out that the business has lost its credibility this is where they finance business partner come in as it is their job to be the salesperson for the company in their time of need and manage the financial function of the organisation. They use their networking skills to help the firm in critical decision making and offer better support to the financial team of the company.

Influential skills: interpersonal skills are vital. The effective finance business partner is flexible and can convey the information in a digestible way to their audience, with clarity and appropriate to specific audiences. This is especially important when the message is one the audience may not wish to hear, for example informing sales that they have overstated their margin. This is when the finance business partner must challenge, coach and motivate. In addition, successful finance business partners must also be able to identify and win over key stakeholders, to build relationships and persuade in order to achieve their objectives.

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What are the qualifications needed to be a finance business partner?

In order for an individual to become a finance business partner, one has to develop his or herself in the role. Experience from other financial roles such as accountant and financial analyst is a basic start in the journey to becoming a finance business partner. In addition to this, one has to have a vast knowledge of the business industry and have a range of skills. A successful finance business partner is someone who keeps on working on themselves. Being purpose guided simply entails that an individual need to continuously test himself if he really is actually enjoying doing what he is doing.

What can you expect for salary?

An entry-level finance business partner can usually expect to earn around $42,000 every year. After approximately gaining 20 years of experience in their position the average yearly salary increases to around $60,000 per year. Depending on the area of the United States where you’re working, it could be possible to get hold of a greater salary on average for the cost of living.

Job outlook

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Business partnering has been present in one form or another for ages but in recent years the business world has seen a growing request for effective finance business partners with establishments of all magnitudes. As the business environment becomes more difficult, the finance department has to acclimatize. The finance function is evolving to meet growing demands from the business and is increasingly expected to take on a value-added, ‘business partnering’ role, to help other parts of the business improve their analysis and decision-making. Business departments are eager for the support of finance professionals who understand the objectives of the business and can analyze real-time statistics to support their decision-making. Businesses need a culture of control, responsibility, and analysis, where tactical and preemptive choices alike are based on data and estimated facts.

What is the career progression like?

Typically as a finance business partner, one would start off as a Management Accountant or Financial Analyst and that would expose such an individual to as much business partnering essentials as imaginable. One tends to find at a Part Qualified level, the extent of obligation and demands increase significantly and is unexpectedly exposed to a lot more business partnering. At this point, you will find yourself at a crossroads, do you continue down the accounting path or move across into a pure FBP position. Further along within your career as a financial business partner specialist, you will be operating with key stakeholders and directly advising on various business strategies. However, the individuals who are most successful at operating at this level have a more natural aptitude to do the role. It is a near impossible task to be an effective business partner without having a groundbreaking or operational understanding.

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