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Sep 2012

Fact or fiction? The independent business partner: UK

This paper is based on discussions between finance professionals from leading companies, at a CIMA roundtable held early in 2011. The aim was to provide a picture of the opportunities and challenges finance transformation is creating, with particular regard to the independence and objectivity of the finance function and its professionals.

A range of senior finance professionals from global organisations illustrated the value-add from finance experts who not only understood the drivers of costs, value and risk but who also had professional objectivity. However, deeper research from the CIMA centre of excellence at the University of Bath school of management showed the value placed on professional independence and objectivity by senior management was lagging, which may result in missed opportunities and increased risk.

For companies and their leadership teams, assessing how they measure up and how they maximise and support their finance business partners will help manage themselves out of the current economic situation and guard against future dangers.

I believe there is a benefit for moving towards true partnering. It is something I do see increasingly happening, however it is not a part of the standard DNA of a finance department. This is currently something outside finance’s comfort zone.

Erik ter Horst Vice President Finance, CFO EMEA and Latin America – BT

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Fact or fiction? The independent business partner: UK