Finance function priorities and best practice

In any business there are few roles as important as the Financial Controller – spanning as it does reporting, budgeting and risk management – but within that framework the priorities of the role are constantly changing.

According to the 2016 Finance Priorities Survey by global consulting firm, Protiviti, along with 2014’s top ranking priorities of strategic planning, budgeting and profitability analysis, have been added performance management, business intelligence, periodic forecasting and risk management.  

Against the backdrop of recent instability caused by Brexit, ongoing EU negotiations and the General Election, the finance function must, more than ever, be in a position to prepare the enterprise for challenges that could materialize at any time, equipping business partners with more precise and real-time information on performance, cash positions and profitability drivers to enable strategic decision making.

In its recent report on the changing role of the Financial Controller, Ernst & Young identifies three key areas that the Financial Controller should focus their efforts on:

Finding and developing talented people

As the priorities of the Finance function diversify attention needs to be paid to the impact of this on the skills required at all levels. Recruitment should therefore be an ongoing priority because if you invest time in hiring and developing good people, the payback is exponential. 

Improving reporting

Management reporting remains the bedrock on which the Financial Controller’s role is built yet, despite its importance, the perceived usefulness of the information can often be lacking.

The research highlighted the following key trends in successful reporting:

  1. Including more non-financial key performance indicators
  2. Electronic reports with interrogation tools
  3. Providing more added-value commentary
  4. Driving for relevance and brevity

There is no one-size-fits-all in reporting, but it is the role of the FC to find the right measures and reporting format for the business.

Getting the basics right to improve efficiency

No matter how good your people are and how well you service your business, if the processes and systems in place aren’t robust, and therefore are creating faulty data, you have a problem.

The key message here is to ensure that you organise your team so that you can operate at a strategic level; everybody doesn’t need to be pulled into the same problem, split your team into those who can drive processes effectively and those who are best positioned to deal with technical issues in a robust but commercial manner.

Elevation Accountancy and Finance provide accountancy and finance recruitment solutions on both a temporary and permanent basis. Our finance recruitment team is the largest within Yorkshire and Derbyshire, with each recruiter having on average over eight years of relevant finance recruitment experience. To view our vacancies, visit our website:

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