You’re a finance professional.
In a review meeting with your boss, you get some feedback that you need to be more strategic.
You nod, leave the meeting and scratch your head.
Maybe you start to do a bit of research and find that rather than helps you figure out what to do, just creates more confusion.
Here’s the thing I’ve found.
There’s so many points of view around what being strategic really means in practice.
So let me offer my thoughts on strategy and what being more strategic means from my perspective.
At it’s most basic level strategy is about working out the direction of travel for your organisation, function or travel.
Let’s take Finance as an example.
The direction of travel might be business partnering or automation or making greater use of data or more advisory and less compliance if working in an accounting practice.
It could even be a combination of all of these.
Alternatively it might be about behaviours, ways of working or change.
Taking the time to get clear about the direction of travel is a good start point.
So what might be some indicators that you are being more strategic as a finance professional?
You are really making time to understand the business
Not just at a surface level but really getting clear about the key drivers of success in the different parts of the business.
You are thinking about the competitive landscape the business operates in
What’s some of the strengths of your organisation and where does the competition excel?
It might be that there are new entrants coming along who are disrupting the norms and doing things differently.
You are making suggestions
Around perhaps better ways of doing things, generating revenues or reducing costs.
You are developing things that help the business achieve its goals
These could be plans, budgets, forecasts, scenarios, business cases or performance frameworks like scorecards.
You are asking the challenging questions
Those that make others stop and think or reflect.
And even lead to a change of mind or a different decision.At the end of the day there are many ways that you can be more strategic. So take some time to think and put together your own plan for being more strategic.