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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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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Why Business Needs More Boring Accountants

honesty in accounting is what business needs

When I came out of public practice and went to work for a business in their Finance team, I was fairly naïve. I still had a very black and white view – an auditors view – of accounting. And so, some of the practices of the management accountants were a real shock to me. My…

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The 4 ‘i’s of Stakeholder management

Stakeholder management skills

Stakeholder management (or stakeholder engagement) is one of the skills that you need in increasing measure as you develop in your business career. It’s a strange term, I think, because it sounds like terminology. Do you know what I mean? The thing is, stakeholder engagement is not just one skill. It’s a group of skills,…

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5 Reasons a Top Management Meeting Can be Life-suckingly Useless – And How the CFO can Fix Them

Finance mistakes that drag down business

During my career, I’ve sometimes worked at the top level in Finance, and had the privilege of sitting alongside other functional heads in the “Senior Management Team” or “The Exec”, or even “The Board of Directors”. Obviously one of the chief ways we stayed in touch with each other, and with what was going on,…

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What is a Purpose-Driven Finance Function? (The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 8)

Understanding why you do things makes a difference

To date in this series, I’ve been picking activities that we do in the Finance function, and looking into why we do them. That’s the essence of my purpose-driven approach. We’ve worked through some big ones, like budgeting, strategy, financial reporting and financial analysis and others. (The links to all previous parts in the series can…

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 6: Internal Control is for Finance Business Partners Too

Understanding why you do things makes a difference

Internal control is often seen as a boring subject. It conjures up visions of bureaucracy, paperwork, inspection teams with checklists, things which slow the business down. But, as I have said elsewhere, “Saying that internal control is boring in business is like a train driver saying that tracks and signals are boring.” Over the course…

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 5: Don’t Waste Money Doing Projects

Understanding why you do things makes a difference

Another post relating to business projects!? It must be on my mind or something! Perhaps because I’ve just signed up to take my PRINCE2 exams. I don’t know! Be that as it may, I have got to the point in my Purpose-Driven CFO series on LinkedIn where I’m considering the purpose-driven angle applied to projects. Why…

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 2: What Are We Budgeting For?

Understanding why you do things makes a difference

The second in my series of LinkedIn articles is out now. It’s all about something which has seemed like a massive headache in pretty much every large business I’ve worked with – budgeting. In a purpose-driven Finance team, we must understand why we use budgets. My thinking is that understanding why helps us to do things better.…

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