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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Why Simplification is Not Always Simple

Simple for whom?

In the generally accepted paradigm for the Finance function, where Finance is an overhead that needs to be kept down and reduced constantly, efficiency is often the name of the game. Simplification is one way of achieving that. And the ways we get efficiency are normally through simplification, standardisation and automation. Those three words were…

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Budgeting for Projects – the Case for Change

Budgeting creates problems for business change projects. Change projects are often something of an anomaly for Finance when it comes to expenditure control and resource allocation. At least that’s the way that it’s felt. The problem, however, is really budgetary control. When I was doing management reporting for functional expenditure areas, that’s what I used…

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Innovation and Finance Part 1 – Customer Focus

How can Finance support but control innovation in business

Two innovation problems for Finance When we think about the attitude of Finance towards innovation, there are two key questions: What should our attitude be towards business innovation? And, What should our attitude be towards internal innovation within Finance? It’s going to take me two posts to deal with these questions. But, before I kick…

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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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