How to Define Value Drivers – a Simple Technique for Business Strategy and Performance Measurement

Getting business strategy right is not easy. The definition of strategy is simple enough: “a plan of action to achieve an aspiration or overcome a problem”. And the process of arriving at the plan sounds so easy: define the objective (vision, aspiration, problem), assess the current state and therefore the gaps, and decide how to…

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Thinking Strategically About Finance Transformation

Finance Transformation should be thought of as a strategy. I get the impression, though, that we don’t think of Finance Transformation like that. We tend to think that the business has a strategy, and functions like Finance just do “transformation” programmes. And this is a general theme I’m building up in framing the presentation I’ll…

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Back to the Future of Finance – Developing the Skills for the Next Generation

Developing skills for Finance to make it fit for the future

What are the skills needed for Finance in business? One of the biggest challenges for the Finance and Accounting profession, Finance professional, and Finance functions in general, is around skills. And whose responsibility is it to create the career pathways, the learning opportunities, and to ensure the right skills, mindsets and behaviours, prevail? In my…

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Please can we stop saying that the future of Finance is all about RPA and AI! It’s not!

So much ink has been spilled about the impact of technology and automation in Finance – RPA and AI and the like – that it’s starting to get a bit tedious. From reading all this stuff, anyone would think that there’s a robot army lining up to make us all redundant! And it’s written as…

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Why the “Future CFO” Should Spend Less Time Business Partnering, Not More

"future CFO" should be primarily a leader

The title of this article may sound strange in an age where Finance business partnering is one of the megatrends in Finance. But bear with me. There’s a good reason why I’m going to argue that “the future CFO” should do less business partnering, and not more. I’m going to start by arguing that, contrary…

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The future CFO is now!

“The Future CFO is now!” That’s part of the title I’ve been given for my presentation at the CFO Summit in Milan on 6-7 June 2018. So, I’ve been thinking a bit about how the role of the CFO has changed over the last 30 years…. You know, ever since I qualified as an accountant…

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Humans are Better Than Robots – And That’s Why Automation Makes Sense

robotic process automation

With all the scare stories about “robots taking our jobs”, it’s easy to get the impression that we’d rather have robots doing jobs because they’re better than us. Recently, I had to do a 2-minute explanation of why Finance should pursue automation opportunities. And I was given a PowerPoint slide with 10 or so bullet…

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Are Your Monthly Reports Leading The Business Astray?

I remember hearing the old sayings about performance measurement early on in my career, and thinking they were pretty astute – catchy and encapsulating a profound truth. Things like: “If you don’t measure it, you don’t manage it!” “What gets measured gets done!” And I’ve always taken them to mean something positive – if you…

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This one big mistake can wreck your Finance Transformation

Finance Transformation wants to add value but shouldn't do it by focusing on cost savings

Finance Transformation programmes will often include something like the following line in their business case: “Capacity created by automation and process efficiency will be reinvested in value-adding activity.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, as an aspiration, it’s got a lot going for it. The trouble is, no one…

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Why I’m Not a CFO! – A Career Planning Reality Check

If you’ve read any of my articles, you may well have wondered why I’m not a CFO by now. I presume to talk about the Finance function. I talk as if I know what the Finance function should be, and how it should be run. I’ve had many senior roles in my career in Finance…

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