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Finance strategy and operating model

Operational complexity and near-term priorities can often restrict the finance function from acting as a true commercial partner and growth enabler. Berkeley’s finance strategy consulting services can help you develop the right operating model and put finance at the heart of your business.

Finance strategy consulting: breaking the cycle

The stakes are high for a finance function. Getting things wrong can have serious finance, reputational and legal consequences – both for the organization and for individual directors and board members.

The finance function can be a hub for systems and data complexity, with each passing year creating a growing legacy of unnecessary complication at the heart of your operation. An evolving corporate regulatory environment also introduces a steady flow of new and non-negotiable requirements that must be accommodated alongside changing needs from within the business.

As a result, the finance function often adopts a defensive and risk-centric approach – doing the basics well and staying in its lane. While this is necessary and valuable, it restricts the function’s ability to enable growth.

Berkeley can help you develop a finance strategy and operating model that breaks this cycle and gives your organization the necessary capabilities and commercial credibility.

The Berkeley Partnership consultants remained focused but definitely moulded themselves to be part of the team - this was a real positive.”

Head of Analysis & Insight, a financial services organisation

The right finance operating model

Our consultants can help you assess what your finance function should look like, in terms of your organization and capabilities, systems and data, and relationships with other areas of the business. We can help you make the right choices, balancing your corporate and fiduciary accountabilities with commercial opportunity.

Finance strategy consulting that offers choices

Our approach to developing your finance strategy and operating model will give you a clear, transparent set of options on how to achieve the outcomes you want. We understand your needs and look to carefully balance risk, cost, pace and business priority.

Finance strategy consulting: your future capabilities

Partnering with Berkeley will give you a clear view on the new and additional capabilities required to support the next chapter of the finance story. This is likely to include skills and disciplines in change leadership, commerciality and technology that may not exist within the function today.

More than just finance consultants

Berkeley has deep finance consulting knowledge but we are so much more than just finance consultants. As transformation experts who specialize in helping organizations under the most complex, challenging and high-stakes circumstances, we can advise you on change in the context of your broader operation and organization. We bring you a fresh perspective, creativity and constructive challenge to solve real life problems.

Our approach of bringing small, experienced teams means we act as trusted partners to your leadership team, with hands-on partner involvement in every project. Our clients tend to embed our highly experienced consultants in selected strategic roles within their organization, where we make a real difference and transform their ambitions into results.

Finance has a natural position at the heart of a business.  It can be a valuable commercial partner and enabler of growth, but operational complexity and an evolving compliance agenda often hinder its true potential. Berkeley can help you clarify your finance strategy and target operating model, the options on how to get there, and the new skills and capabilities that you will need.”

Jonathan Kennedy, Partner

Clients often ask us…

Question 1

We spend 80% of our time looking backwards and managing risk. How can the finance function become a better commercial partner to the business?

Question 2

How can we leverage new and emerging technologies to make us a more efficient and effective function? How do we adopt automation, and data analytics and visualization?

Question 3

I don’t want an expensive, multi-year, high-risk ERP journey but how can we address our complex legacy systems and data environment?

Question 4

What finance skills and capabilities do we need for the future and how can we attract and develop the right people?

Question 5

We are part way through a finance transformation program but are struggling and don’t know what to do – how do we ensure the program is still aligned to what the business needs?

Question 6

How do we integrate our finance functions after acquisition and avoid duplication of work?

Question 7

How do I convince the business unit leaders on the benefits of centralization and standardization?

Client stories

Dow Jones

Global financial information and news publisher, Dow Jones, recognized it needed a step-change in its global finance function. Technology had moved on and if the company didn’t adapt its systems and processes, it would face growing inefficiencies and lowered productivity, which would ultimately impact market competitiveness and the bottom line.

Dow Jones chose Berkeley for our experience in finance transformation, programme delivery, and leadership of large-scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations – expertise that would complement in-house capabilities. Our London team led the initial assessment and immediate follow-on activity, before the work moved to our New York office. From there, our US team led the program through mobilization, implementation, and post go-live support.

Unilever - financial reporting

Unilever wanted to redefine its approach to management reporting, extending existing SAP tools to deliver a simpler and faster European financial close and management reporting timetable. We helped them evaluate their options, define plans and create the business case to secure funding for the project and then took over mobilization and management of the 50-strong global vendor/client team which would deliver it.

Unilever - managing project turnaround

One of the world’s leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, selling its products in over 190 countries. The Unilever of today has been created over many years of mergers and acquisitions. While these have enabled the group to grow, they have brought with them complications, not least for the group’s IT function.

The function's response has been to try to simplify its IT infrastructure. One important objective has been to transition to a single global SAP financial and management reporting platform, named Victory. We helped them achieve this goal, by reviewing the project underway to deliver Victory, before supporting a project turnaround and ultimately project managing it through to a successful delivery. 

Global real estate services company

We worked with one of the world’s largest, US-based global real estate services companies to develop a strategic roadmap of Finance projects. 

This work was commissioned by the Global Executive Board, who sought to enable prioritization of investment decisions, ensure strategic allocation of capital, and improve financial forecasting. Over 50 projects were identified and assessed as part of the final roadmap, with a total budget of ~ $95M. We designed the process and tools for building the roadmap, detailed the next steps required following our engagement, and outlined the approach to subsequently implement a strategic portfolio management capability in order to deliver the roadmap. 

Multinational mining company

We led the Finance transformation program for a top multinational mining company, with the goal of transforming the Finance organisation into best-in-class amongst industry peers, operating as a true strategic partner to the business. 

The program involved target operating model development; performance management strategy; organization design; standardization of governance, processes and controls; global business services design and implementation; and the associated technology enablement and change management

Global consumer goods organization

We helped a global consumer goods organization deliver a significant Finance transformation across over 100 countries. 

This involved both implementing a new suite of SAP systems for financial consolidation and all group management and financial reporting, and also streamlining their financial reporting by consolidating the group financial results directly from the source ledgers in each of their 600+ Legal Entities around the world.  

Leading global media conglomerate

We helped a leading global media conglomerate understand if - and how - they should bring together a finance shared service and a single finance IT platform across their three key publishing business units in the UK, USA and Australia. 

This Finance Platforms and Shared Services Assessment defined the future landscape and the business case for such a transformation allowing the CFOs and CTOs of each business, and at group level, make an informed decision about how to move forward. 

News and business information firm

We helped a New York-based news and business information business define and mobilize their Finance Transformation

We worked with them to define a clear and aligned view of the Current State of their finance process and systems landscape (including all pain points and opportunities), a Target Future State, and a business case and roadmap to move between the two. We then went on to help them mobilize the programme to deliver this change. 

Their professionalism was top notch … I've gone through a number of these types of projects in my career and this one superseded all. High caliber people with the experience and intelligence to get to the crux of the issue.”

VP Finance Operations

Client stories

Global financial information and news publisher, Dow Jones, recognized it needed a step-change in its global finance function. Technology had moved on and if the company didn’t adapt its systems and processes, it would face growing inefficiencies and lowered productivity, which would ultimately impact market competitiveness and the bottom line.

Dow Jones chose Berkeley for our experience in finance transformation, programme delivery, and leadership of large-scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations – expertise that would complement in-house capabilities. Our London team led the initial assessment and immediate follow-on activity, before the work moved to our New York office. From there, our US team led the program through mobilization, implementation, and post go-live support.

Unilever wanted to redefine its approach to management reporting, extending existing SAP tools to deliver a simpler and faster European financial close and management reporting timetable. We helped them evaluate their options, define plans and create the business case to secure funding for the project and then took over mobilization and management of the 50-strong global vendor/client team which would deliver it.

One of the world’s leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, selling its products in over 190 countries. The Unilever of today has been created over many years of mergers and acquisitions. While these have enabled the group to grow, they have brought with them complications, not least for the group’s IT function.

The function's response has been to try to simplify its IT infrastructure. One important objective has been to transition to a single global SAP financial and management reporting platform, named Victory. We helped them achieve this goal, by reviewing the project underway to deliver Victory, before supporting a project turnaround and ultimately project managing it through to a successful delivery. 

We worked with one of the world’s largest, US-based global real estate services companies to develop a strategic roadmap of Finance projects. 

This work was commissioned by the Global Executive Board, who sought to enable prioritization of investment decisions, ensure strategic allocation of capital, and improve financial forecasting. Over 50 projects were identified and assessed as part of the final roadmap, with a total budget of ~ $95M. We designed the process and tools for building the roadmap, detailed the next steps required following our engagement, and outlined the approach to subsequently implement a strategic portfolio management capability in order to deliver the roadmap. 

We led the Finance transformation program for a top multinational mining company, with the goal of transforming the Finance organisation into best-in-class amongst industry peers, operating as a true strategic partner to the business. 

The program involved target operating model development; performance management strategy; organization design; standardization of governance, processes and controls; global business services design and implementation; and the associated technology enablement and change management

Services

Finance strategy and operating model

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Services

Target operating model design

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We helped a global consumer goods organization deliver a significant Finance transformation across over 100 countries. 

This involved both implementing a new suite of SAP systems for financial consolidation and all group management and financial reporting, and also streamlining their financial reporting by consolidating the group financial results directly from the source ledgers in each of their 600+ Legal Entities around the world.  

Services

Finance transformation

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Sector

Consumer goods

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We helped a leading global media conglomerate understand if - and how - they should bring together a finance shared service and a single finance IT platform across their three key publishing business units in the UK, USA and Australia. 

This Finance Platforms and Shared Services Assessment defined the future landscape and the business case for such a transformation allowing the CFOs and CTOs of each business, and at group level, make an informed decision about how to move forward. 

We helped a New York-based news and business information business define and mobilize their Finance Transformation

We worked with them to define a clear and aligned view of the Current State of their finance process and systems landscape (including all pain points and opportunities), a Target Future State, and a business case and roadmap to move between the two. We then went on to help them mobilize the programme to deliver this change. 

Their professionalism was top notch … I've gone through a number of these types of projects in my career and this one superseded all. High caliber people with the experience and intelligence to get to the crux of the issue.””

VP Finance Operations
Lead Partner

Jonathan Kennedy

Jonathan Kennedy, Partner