A Finance Business Partner is an accountant who works with different departments in a business, communicating insightful financial information which can be translated into effective commercial strategy.
The role of a Finance Business Partner goes beyond a traditional ‘back office’ accounting position. Finance Business Partners are the link between finance and management, acting as trusted advisors and providing valuable analysis and insights to influence the decision-making process.
Other variations of the job title include ‘Financial Business Partner,’ ‘Senior Finance Business Partner and ‘Commercial Finance Business Partner,’ but they all embody the same core principle of bridging the relationship between accountancy and other business units.
The role of a Finance Business Partner varies depending on the company, but typical daily duties are as follows:
• Producing reports
• Providing analysis and insight, linking financial reports to business strategies
• Introducing effective commercial strategy
• Contributing to key decision making
• Implementing changes to ensure that key targets are met
• Building and maintaining relationships with senior managers and their departments
• Acting as a financial advisor – offering general financial support to commercial decision makers
• Undertaking project-based work for specific strategies / business initiatives
To become a Finance Business Partner, you will need to be a part-qualified or qualified accountant (ACCA / ACA or CIMA).
Ideal candidates have 2 to 3 years of post-qualification experience in a role such as Management Accountant, Finance Manager or Finance Analyst.
Newly qualified accountants can be considered, but they will need to be able to demonstrate stronger experience and business-partnering skills.
If there is an opportunity to get involved with any projects in your current role - go for it! This kind of experience will be highly beneficial.
Any experience of reporting, communicating financial information to non-finance individuals and showing the ability to think long term is great.
Finance Business Partner Skills
Whilst such experience is important, having the correct skill set is critical to success in this position. A prospective Finance Business Partner will need the following key skills:
• Excellent commercial awareness
• Excellent analytical skills with the ability to interpret raw data and translate it into clear, concise information
• The ability to explain complex financial data to non-finance individuals
• Strong communication and presentation skills
• Problem solving skills and the ability to think creatively
• The ability to influence and win over stakeholders
• Demonstrable leadership skills
• The confidence to justify and implement change
• The ability to see the ‘bigger picture’
Becoming a Finance Business Partner has excellent career prospects attached. Due to the nature of the role being very close to the business, there are many opportunities to progress.
The next step for a Finance Business Partner would involve becoming a Divisional Finance Director then progressing in time to Finance Director level. The financial world is your oyster when you have developed skills in a business partnership capacity!