Business Partnering is optimal when you can adapt to changes and are able to convert new information into intelligence specially created for decision making. In a world of flexibility, you would therefore often feel it is a good idea to make changes to the basic accounting setup to support your business analytics and ability to get more information at hand automatically. Though, it does not really work if no one listen to your analysis. Many people experience that their work is not being taken seriously even when it is very well executed and the intelligence that has been created is very systematic, logic and correct. The question to be raised here is why and how can this trust be build for the partners to trust the numbers?
In my experience, non-finance professionals do not view things the same way and do not understand the logic in the same way as finance professionals. They need to have something comparable and experience repeated and uniform reports to build the trust for them to believe that nothing has been missed in the analysis. Therefore, it is a good idea to define and agree a basic setup of accounting, reporting and processes that works in a standardized and well-structured environment, preferably setup with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and that you will not change this for a long period. Though, you should of course adapt to issues on data quality and not neglect this along the way.
This will ensure a repeated uniform set of data and reporting.
To establish the trusted partner environment, it is also important that you create the feeling of “one truth” to all the reports. If business leaders see different reports that indicate different numbers, even from other parties, they will start to distrust your numbers. Therefore, it is important to manage the data access carefully but also to be on top of any discussions ongoing anywhere in the business concerning financials to ensure that the numbers that will be presented are aligned with the information you are reporting.
If you get this right, you are off to a good start on Business Partnering as the fundamentals for creating the trusted environment will have great conditions.
The but you may have in mind is, what about customized reporting that matches the current needs for the business? If you have the basics in order, you can always build on this and perform your analysis on a deeper level in subsystems or excel but the final conclusions that you are to present shall match with the basic accounting and reporting to ensure that the business stakeholders understand the meaning of your conclusions as they can easily compare to what they normally see.
Another great thing about a standardized environment with good systematic processes, is that you will enable a “privilege of focus” from looking at all the processes around numbers, controlling the data quality and use a lot of time on standard reporting, you will be able to focus your time more on value creation analysis and reporting.
Good luck on creating your environment.
See more inspiration on my previous blog posts or follow my company ProcOpt Management: