CFOs are finding they don’t have enough access to credible information to be able to make effective decisions, and their teams don’t cover a broad enough skill sets to be able to add value to the business, according to Deloitte’s Changing the focus – Finance Business Partnering in Australia survey.
Deloitte surveyed 36 Australian CFOs and found that more than half of (58 per cent) said a lack of information was a major barrier in effective business partnering, while 39 per cent said they lacked skills in strategic thinking, commercial acumen, and negotiating and influencing capabilities.
Sixty-one per cent of finance teams spend the majority of their time on core finance function activities such as report production, transactional processing, compliance and control. Only 39 per cent invest more than 30 per cent of their time on business partnering activities such as strategy development.
“Finance business partnering is being driven to meet the commercial demands of new business models, digital disruption and the explosion in the quality and variety of available data. Successful finance business partners are seen as leaders that can influence the critical decisions a business makes, influencing beyond the numbers,” Donal Graham, leader of Deloitte’s Finance Transformation Consulting practice, said.
“Australian organisations also need to do more to explore and develop innovative career pathways which will encourage finance talent to consider pursuing opportunities which are outside of finance departments. Overall, our research has shown that making the transition from back to front office is not easy and in many cases there is a great deal of room for improvement in Australia.”
The lack of clear communication between finance and the rest of the business is also an issue, the survey found, with 50 per cent of organisations achieving a poor to fair level of business buy-in for finance. Forty-seven per cent of CFOs believe they could do better at clearly communicating the role finance can play in adding value to the business.
Nearly all of the CFOs surveyed (94 per cent) said they are looking to increase their finance business partnering activities over three years.