While the drive to optimize the cost and efficiency of an organization’s finance function is critical, so too is its rising importance as a way to drive business value – working as a true strategic partner enabling growth and driving cost efficiency across the business.
A strong finance function is at the heart of any successful business, so it’s vital to get a finance transformation right. The Berkeley Partnership has worked with many of the world’s leading companies on their most challenging finance transformation programs – from early vision, strategy and business case, right through the difficulties of delivery.
The drive and leadership against a program that is up against the organization's natural inertia to adapt was exceptional. The Berkeley Partnership brought the experience, thought leadership and initiative to really drive things forward. Looking forward to supplement the team with Berkeley's guidance and experience again in the future.”
A media and entertainment sector client
Finance leaders are buffeted by change – much of which is outside of their direct control. We cover some of the key drivers for change in more detail below.
Enabling less time to be spent on the mechanics of the reporting cycle, more on business support / partnering.
Improving the efficiency of transactional reporting and streamlining end-to-end processes (especially handoffs between teams) will mean less time used gathering and validating data. Instead, it can be spent on analysis, insight and business partnering.
The majority of controls are often still highly manual. However, there’s clear movement towards using automation and new technologies such as robotic process automation, that offer significant potential efficiencies.
Finance is fast adapting to partner with the business and deliver efficiencies and value on a continuous basis. Streamlining across group / corporate finance and other federated finance teams continues swiftly. The historic lines between financial, commercial and sales operations roles may start to change. There’s an increased focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent in ‘front office’ finance roles.
Finance shared services continues its evolution. This can be due to any one or a combination of the following factors: expanding scope and remit; a response to M&A activity; changing the insource versus outsource supply mix; more automation; seeking further advantage from low cost locations; and/or integrating into a multi-functional shared service environment.
Traditional reporting is being transformed by modern cloud analytics tools (including data visualisation and artificial intelligence (AI)). These tools empower greater business self-service and can leverage large amounts of structured and unstructured internal and external data. Finance may or may not own the analytics capability, but must be able to drive value from the data.
Traditional finance ERP systems are being transformed and replaced by “new wave” ERP (sometimes known as post-modern ERP, or digital operations platforms). These can unlock real value for finance functions – such as greater agility and accessibility, and improved analytics. Automation tools are also being implemented to drive further efficiencies.
There’s a greater focus on a slick, accessible and more digital experience for both finance staff and end users through tools such as Workday Financials and Concur. There’s a rise in the use of AI-powered chat-bots for quality assurance and multilingual support. Business is adapting to ‘millennial’ hires who expect to do more for themselves/online – but only if the user experience meets high consumer standards.
The finance function clearly has a key role in audit and risk, and close to the top of most corporate risk registers (and on audit committee agendas) is typically cyber and information security.
We help finance and technology executives understand how best to move their business forward – and we work closely with them to make it happen.”
Through a combination of industry and business knowledge of finance functional understanding, technology expertise and transformational change, our consultants are able to effectively navigate complex subject matter and align varied stakeholders into cohesive, clear plans, no matter how influential the drivers are for change.
We offer our clients a financial transformation consulting service with a compelling combination of industry and business knowledge relevant to their sector. We combine this with finance functional understanding, technology expertise and the transformational change know-how to make it all happen.
With our ‘low volume, high value’ model, we won’t overwhelm with large teams or take months to produce results. By only using one or two highly experienced and high caliber people, we can assess and turn around major programs in weeks, or help you cut through to a core strategy in a matter of days.
Above all, this is about sound judgement – doing enough analysis and drawing on our experience to help our clients make a confident decision on what’s right for them. We work as a close-knit part of your team, transforming your finance function ‘with you, not to you’, and getting to results that have real ownership and buy-in.”
How can I use finance to drive my business value, enable growth and drive cost efficiency?
How can my finance function give me timely, accurate insights to help me make better business decisions?
How do we define and mobilize a finance transformation?
How can I understand if and how I should unite my finance, IT and HR functions as a single shared service?
What’s the best way to determine my strategy for customer billing systems?
How can I simplify my finance processes to increase efficiencies?
How can I define and manage a major financial reporting program?
How do we develop a strategic roadmap of finance projects?
How do I transition from a legacy finance ERP to a new state-of-the-art ERP technology?
Ben Wildman, Partner
The Berkeley Partnership LLP
20 Farringdon Street
London, EC4A 4AB