#018: Supercharging Finance to Drive Business Performance

with Andy Burrows

Our Guest Mentor:

Andy Burrows is Founder and CEO of SuperchargedFinance.com which not only helps accounting & finance professionals drive business performance, but also provides useful & practical advice for those same people working in and with finance on how to improve and grow.

Andy qualified as a chartered accountant in the UK more than 20 years ago. He’s worked in different businesses – large, medium and small – in different sectors ranging from Financial Services to Software. He’s held many accounting & finance leadership positions and continues to advise on as well as drive many Finance change and transformation projects at many well-known businesses.

Andy is also an author publishing 3 non-finance related books and is also a regular contributor on LinkedIn where he can be found passing on the benefits of his learning and experience to the next generation of Finance Managers and CFOs. He also makes his practical experiences available via sharing lot of useful & practical content for free, such as, cheat sheets, templates and mini-courses on the superchargedfinance.com website.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

 “ And then since then I reflected back on that and it all fitted together and that’s where I tend to use the phrase finance drives business performance.” [04:41]

“I had to think about . . . why would any organisation employ a finance director, why would they want one? And I thought well, what Finance brings is that Finance gets involved more than any other function in every area of the business. You could say HR or IT they support every area of the business but Finance has a unique position in needing to know the numbers for each and every function in each and every area of the business and to know what’s driving costs, what’s driving revenue, and margin and growth and you see the bigger companies, who gets the flack for the performance of the business, well it’s the CFO and that’s because the CFO has that influence and position of interest in every function, it’s the whole business they’re interested in.” [08:13]

“And when I looked at putting together what does business performance involve and how do you manage business performance I realised that all the elements involved in managing the performance of a business are elements where Finance are involved, you’ve got the strategy and planning, the reporting, the analytics side, the transaction processing, the resource allocation, the cash management, even risk management, control, they’re all elements that Finance are involved in and that’s quite interesting from the point of view that all those things are there in order to manage and drive the performance of the business.” [09:13]

“Everyone seems to put headcount on the monthly management reports but what does it tell you? It tells you you’ve got headcount but people assume that because we’ve got headcount on the report we’ve got to do something about that, we ought to reduce it, but that may not be the right thing to do because the important thing is not how many people but it’s what they’re doing that really matters.” [15:30]

 (Other resources and how to connect with Andy below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • One simple question to get at the purpose and value of why we do things in Finance.
  • Two Tell-tale signs that you’re measuring the wrong things on your reports.
  • One key habit we can develop in accounting & finance to add more value with some practical steps on how we can gain this habit.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[02:39] – Why Andy switched from practice to industry and how he benefited.

[03:28] – Describes the culture shock of making finance director at the age of 29.

[04:20] – Shares where he experienced the best finance team he ever worked in and why.

[05:03] – Talks through his first experience of interim finance work.

[05:20] – What prompted him to look at Internet marketing and website development

[05:53] – How his first bout of cancer impacted his career.

[06:51] – Why he set up Supercharged Finance and kept on learning.

[07:53] – Answers why driving business performance is so important for finance & accounting to focus on.

[11:15] – The purpose-driven CFO.

[12:33] – A reporting quick win: what gets measured gets done.

[14:18] – Tell-tale signs that you’re measuring the wrong things.

  • [14:28] – Allocations.
  • [15:30] – Headcount.

[16:48] – Why we need to shift our mindsets to be more outward looking.

[19:00] – How to be more curious in accounting & finance to add more value.

[21:42] – Advice Andy gives to those just starting out in the profession.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Supercharged Finance (website)
    • Free course on How Finance Can Drive Business Performance (link)
    • Finance Business Partnering Cheat Sheet (link)
    • Business Case Templates (link)
    • KPI Catalogue Template (link)
  • The purpose driven CFO series of articles (part 1 of 10)
  • Good To Great (2001), by Jim Collins
  • Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action (2011), by Simon Sinek
  • The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting: A New Operating System for Organisations: What it is and Why it Works (2017), by Steve Morlidge
  • Supercharged Finance: Focusing The Finance Function on Business Performance (2016), by Andy Burrows

Andy’s non-finance books on his experience with cancer:

  • Cancer and Me: My experience with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (2016), by Andy Burrows
  • Facing Cancer with Faith: Christian reflections from my battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (2016), by Andy Burrows
  • My Autologous Stem Cell Transplant: One Patient’s Perspective (2016), by Andy Burrows


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