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What is the role of a finance business partner?

A finance business partner is an advisor to management/ board members and a key decision-maker in matters pertaining to investment, budget, or sales.

What is a finance business partner?

Finance business partners can provide comprehensive financial advice, support, and insight for major projects and contracts across a range of products/departments or services, advising on financial strategy and the revenue and capital implications of proposals, ensuring that interdependencies are identified and understood, that financial risks are identified and providing assurance on arrangements.

Why does a business need a finance business partner?

A finance business partner is an expert in financial analysis and accounting. They help bridge the gap between raw data and insight, often presenting key findings to operational staff in a way that is easily understandable.

They are experts in the economic environment of the business, company and competitor performance, and market trends and use this insight to inform other decision-makers.

Finance business partners don’t always work with senior management, instead, they can be placed in specific departments, presenting their findings in meetings to non-exec level staff depending on the size of the company.

How to get a job as a finance business partner

Most finance business partners start off as data analysts, financial advisors, or accountants with undergraduate or master’s degrees in these areas.

A keen eye for interpreting data and communicating it in layman’s terms is essential for anyone looking to pursue this as a career. Typically finance business partners will have 5-10 years of experience in their industry, although often, advisors to execs and C-suite staff have 15-20+ years of specific industry experience under their belt.

What skills does a finance business partner need?

Ultimately there are three skills a finance business partner needs; data analysis, presentation, and resilience. However, this specialist role needs more than just these basic skills to excel in this role and guide their business to making sound financial decisions.

Other skills this role requires are:

  • The ability to communicate data in a clear and concise way.
  • Strong presentation skills with a focus on graphical data presentation.
  • Confidence in risk assessment and taking calculated risks.
  • Knowledge of historic, current, and future market trends and data.
  • Advanced accounting and statistical interpretation.
  • Resilience for when things change or don’t go to plan.
  • Providing quality assurance and review of any financial proposals, reports, or documentation.
  • Patience when faced with long decision-making processes, timelines, or changes.
  • To be aware of new legislation and understand the implications of this on financial decisions.
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