Get off to a great Start!

Michael Ryan explains how Finance Transformation success always starts with the Business Case.

The guiding principle to Business Case development should be 'keep it simple'. We want to bring all Stakeholders on a journey to accept a major organisational change and adopting a structured, easy to follow approach will help enormously in making the case for change.

What is a Business Case? At its heart the successful Business Case tells a story, logically developing the Case for Change in order to win hearts and minds. It is not just a cost benefit analysis. I always prefer to state it in the positive - 'We are making the Case for Change'.

Download How to win Hearts & Minds, on Finance Transformation Programmes

If you are considering a Business Case for Finance Transformation it can be a daunting prospect and in my experience it takes on average 12 weeks. The factors that influence this are primarily resources, business complexity, headcount, and locations. Always remember that a Business Case is a mini project, so resource it for success!

The 12 weeks should be divided into 3 Steps expressed in language that everyone can appreciate. These 3 steps to achieve Board approval are 3 fundamental questions:

1 Where are you now?
2 Where are you going?
3 How do you get there?

I suggest devoting 6 weeks to (1), 4 weeks to (2) and 2 weeks to (3). All through the 12 week process you are developing and refining the Case for Change so that you are equipped to win your Case at the Board.

At Finance Transformation UK our approach is holistic, value focussed, partner enabled and underpinned by experience in managing Finance Shared Service Centres. Our holistic approach views the Business as a dynamic entity and our analysis extends beyond Finance across the Business.

We provide and look for value everywhere. Traditionally a Business case is produced by gathering data from within the Business, however via our AI Partner - Lumilinks, we focus on value to the Business. We gather data internally and externally to help the Business enhance its core activity, its route to market and its profitability. Finance Transformation is traditionally back office, but we bring a front office mindset!

We deploy Partner led solutions to support analysis and add C Suite challenge to validate strategy, operating model and culture. Our Partners complement our crucial Finance operational experience across every team and process in the Finance function.

We aim to build your Case for Change, because as Finance people we know it will make your life easier!

Step 1 - Where are you now?

Clearly articulate your Current Operating Model (COM) before considering your Target Operating Model (TOM).

We firmly believe that time invested in understanding your COM is crucial. That is why we focus Clients on understanding their current organisation before we focus on what is the best way forward. We don't accept your preconceived solutions, we test them, to identify the real challenges!

Our Project Kick Off focuses on education and the all-important 'Exam Question'. We share with you everything you ever wanted to know about Finance Transformation. Then we focus the C-Suite on defining the 'Exam Question'. The raison d'etre of the project. Do we all agree on why we are here?

We will engage with your Leadership Team to focus on your culture and values. How effectively they are communicated, understood and lived. CultureBlox can then develop Finance Transformation specific values for the transformation journey and the eventual steady state.

We conduct 'Challenge' sessions with your Leadership team on current structure and performance to understand why you operate the way you do. We find these sessions produce gold dust as senior leaders reflect on strategy, performance and strategic objectives. All of which will help to inform the direction of travel and can produce ideas for collaboration across the organisation not previously considered, such as multi-functional Shared Services incorporating Procurement, Human Resources and IT.

A critical deliverable is the Baseline and as our approach above attests to, we focus on the people as much as the numbers. Establishing a Baseline of Finance headcount, cost base and process metrics in isolation does not lead to the best decisions, so we always say there is no limit to data gathering. In this area the expertise of our AI Partner - Lumilinks, adds to our data gathering effectiveness.

By the end of Step 1 you will have a thorough understanding of your own organisation, your Finance function and what Finance Transformation has to offer.

Author: Michael Ryan

With 25 years' experience Transforming Finance across multiple Sectors as a Consultant and as a Finance Transformation Leader, Michael Ryan is uniquely placed to advise Clients on creating a World Class Finance Team. Contact us now.