If you work in Finance and you’re not contributing to the value creation in your company chances are you will soon find that your job is either outsourced, offshored or eliminated entirely. That’s simply due to companies needing to focus on their core activities where they have a competitive edge. So, if you can’t help them gain any competitive edge then you better start looking for ways of doing that. The good thing is that there are many activities you can start right now to help your company create value and be someone with a future in the company.
A perfect blend of soft and hard skills
To help you get started on creating value I have prepared a brief list for you below but what’s critical to understand is that what will make you successful is a perfect blend of soft and hard skills whereas 5-15 years ago you could rely more on the hardcore accounting and analysis skills and expect someone else to find out what to do you with your analysis. Nowadays finance professionals are counted upon to be present from the idea stage to execution and delivery of the company’s business model. Therefore, you need to start doing below 5 activities right now.
- Study your company’s value chain so you have a clear view on how your company makes money, where new products are created, who are your suppliers and customers etc. If you don’t know this you won’t have any chance of supporting the business in creating value.
- Learn how to communicate the results of your analysis. Without it being translated from the numbers it’s created on into something visual or a story even the business simply won’t understand it. So, you might be the best financial analyst in your company but someone else will always steal your thunder with the business if you can’t communicate.
- Understand who of your internal stakeholders that would be most likely to want your assistance with solving their business problems. Not everyone in the company will be equally susceptible to your efforts to help them hence better to work on those that are.
- Find out what your company’s competitors are doing, see if there’s something your company can easily replicate, and then create a business case you can sell to your stakeholders. That’s just one way you’ll be able to positively surprise your stakeholders and that’s something everyone likes!
- Always deliver on your promises and it’s better to under promise and overdeliver rather than the opposite. As soon as you start committing to something you can’t deliver on you’re not helping anyone create value.
There are, of course, a lot more activities big and small that you can do to help value creation in your company but above 5 are quite tangible yet still significant enough to get you noticed and improve your company’s performance.
The table stakes are being upped for Finance
There’s no doubt that you need to do increasingly more to get a seat at the table in your company. Regardless if you’re the CFO or the analyst there’s always a table where you’ll get to collaborate with the business to create value. However, you need to do a lot to get there as simply producing a management report doesn’t cut it anymore. The report your business stakeholders can pull themselves from the system in real time. Doing some of the activities suggested here will put you on the right track but above all, it is consistently delivering on your promises that will keep you at the table once you get there.
What activities have you found were successful getting you to the table and take part in the value creation in your company? If you’re struggling to get heard what are your main challenges?