What Helps and What Hinders Your Ability To Influence As A Finance Business Partner

The role of the Finance Business Partner is sometimes misunderstood.

I’ve seen job descriptions where finance business partnering is spoken about a lot.

But in reality the role is nowhere close to being that of a Finance Business Partner.

For me a true Finance Business Partner is someone who is in many respects like the Finance Director for a specific part of a business if working in a large organisation.

If in an SME you are probably doing the role of Finance Business Partner even if that’s not your job title.

One of the things that makes the Finance Business Partner role different to say a traditional management accounting role is your ability to influence.

Influencing is about change.

 The change might be in strategy, thinking, behaviours, decisions among others

So what helps and what hinders your ability to influence as a Finance Business Partner?

What Hinders Your Ability To Influence As A Finance Business Partner

  • Yourself.  This might seem a strange one to start with.  So let me explain.  You might have great qualifications, experience and skills in your area of professional expertise.  All well and good.  On the other hand if you have self doubt about what you can contribute beyond your area of expertise, you are going to find it difficult to influence as you would like.
  • Your Approach.  I work with a lot of finance professionals.  One thing I’ve noticed is there can be a tendency to look at everything through the financial lens.  Now don’t get me wrong this is important.  There is however many factors that contribute to successful business performance. If you can’t show that you get this, your ability to influence will be reduced
  • Your Track Record.  Many accountants and Finance Business Partners want to contribute.  This is positive.  The potential risk is that you over promise and under deliver.  Usually as a result of wanting to do everything, reluctance to say no or even poor priority setting.

What Helps Your Ability To Influence As A Finance Business Partner

  • Understanding the business.  This is one of the areas that most take away as an action whenever I am delivering workshops on Finance Business Partner.  If you really understand the business or area that you support, the problems, challenges and opportunities you will more effectively influence.
  • Being trusted.  There is a saying that trust takes time to develop and can be destroyed in minutes.  You are not trusted overnight and you have to keep making deposits in the trust bank.  Doing what you promise, your handling of challenging situations, your focus and actions all contribute to being trusted.
  • Your communication and presentation skills.  Partnering with the business requires a lot of communication.  It requires you to explain what might be seen a complex in a simple way.  To get your message across.  Those who do this well will stand out without a doubt.


Being an effective Finance Business Partner who positively influences is likely to be something you strive to do.  Taking time to consider what is helping you and hindering your ability to influence is a good investment of time.  Especially if you take action on what you discover from your reflections.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 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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