This is a guest blog post from our partner Adaptive Insights.
When it comes to
business, collaboration is
vital. After all, no single department can do its job for long without the
other departments pulling their own weight. Sales is no good if shipping can’t
deliver; marketing falls flat if customer service keeps alienating users;
everything grinds to a halt if human resources doesn’t provide the appropriate
But for some reason,
when it comes to the numbers, it can feel like every department is on its own.
Data is often stuck in silos, making it difficult or even impossible for other
departments to get the information they need to do their jobs well.
Nowhere is this more
evident than in the department that makes numbers its business: finance.
Collaboration can be a struggle
According to an Adaptive Insights CFO survey, nearly 50% of CFOs cited the inability to align with other departments on key metrics as a top issue, while 70% said improving collaboration with other parts of the business was a top priority for the upcoming year.
What makes collaboration
with others such a struggle for the finance team? According to the report, 79%
said lack of time was one of their most challenging collaboration issues, while
55% cited lack of clarity about who has decision-making authority when
It’s no wonder teams struggle to achieve collaborative finance; they don’t have the necessary time, direction, or clarity around KPIs to build the cross-functional relationships required to improve forecasting and reporting. So what should be a team effort becomes a finance exercise, and when numbers change, it becomes finance’s fault. In the end, we lose credibility as a business partner.
Make your data everyone’s data
So how do you get other
departments to collaborate with finance? Start by empowering your business
partners with more ownership and accountability in the data and your process.
For example, many businesses still do most of their forecasting and planning
Not only is this wildly inefficient (not to mention more likely to include
errors), but it keeps all the information bottled up on one person’s screen
until they’re ready to share. We all have seen an Excel spreadsheet named
finalV2 or Final V3, only to find out our business partners are using FinalV6.
This is a leading cause of number mismatch. Using modern finance tools, a
finance team can collect and report on the numbers without needing to send and
receive Excel spreadsheets. Everyone is on the same version and making the
changes together. This just makes the business partners a part of the overall
process, not part of the problem.
The more you can modernize your process and increase visibility into KPIs across the company, the more others will think of “our numbers” instead of “finance’s numbers.” When you create a single source of truth and share it, collaborators will be able to move past arguing about the numbers and start working together to decide on next steps.
A strategic bonus to collaborative finance
As a bonus, automation and dashboards for self-service collaborative reporting can vastly reduce the amount of transactional work the finance team has to accomplish each day. This frees up our time for both increased collaboration and providing the strategic, high-level analysis that helps move the company forward.
This blog was originally published by Adaptive Insights.