3 Practical Ways To Be A Better Business Partner

The role of accountants and other functional professionals in organisations is changing.

Partly driven by technology.  Partly driven by individuals who want to make a bigger contribution.  Partly driven by organisations being more willing to get the best from every function.

At the same time there are challenges.

Functional professionals tend to be great at the technical or knowledge based elements of their role.

Some are however reluctant to step outside of what’s familiar to them.

Some might not be as well rounded as others when it comes to skills.

Some may just be fearful of the unknown.

So in this blog post I want to suggest three practical ways to be a better business partner.

3 Practical Ways To Be A Better Business Partner

1.

Focus on building relationships


You probably are great at building relationships with those in your professional field.  Many might even regard you as pretty outgoing.


Of course those that you work with are more likely to engage with those that they get to know, like and trust.


Building relationships is key in my experience is key to achieving the know, like and trust that’s so vital to being successful in your role.


Are you actively building relationships and seeing this as priority? 


If not you are potentially missing a key building block to being a better business partner.

 

2.

Increase your business knowledge


Whenever I’m delivering workshops or speaking at events on business partnering one of the post event actions people commit to more than anything else is increasing their business knowledge.


For me having business knowledge is different to knowing about your organisation.


Those with organisation knowledge have depth of understanding about the organisation that they work in.


In addition they understand business more widely.


They take an active interest in learning about how other businesses work and are curious about what might work in one would be of value to another.


Those with business knowledge are much more able to move between organisations and sectors or even within sectors.
3.

Be more curious


Doing some expert interviews with those in different roles in accounting, what’s clear is that’s important to be really curious.


For me that’s actually having an enquiring mind.  It’s about asking why things are done in certain ways. 


Not in a critical way.  More in the spirit of finding better ways or simply as a way of moving with the times.


It may be that technology has advanced so much that the options for doing certain things have greatly increased.

 

Or that regulatory requirements can be fulfilled in a different way.

 


In many respects being a better business partner is always work in progress.  Equally determining some practical steps that you could take like those above or something else can definitely help you make a bigger contribution.

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About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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