#028: From Compliance To Commercial And Better Finance Business Partnering

with Andrew Jepson


Our Guest Mentor:

Andrew Jepson is owner and founder of Vincero Consulting that provides Outsourced CFO services targeted to SME businesses as well as coaching & mentoring programmes to high performing finance teams. Andrew’s very passionate about finance business partnering, is a regular contributor on LinkedIn and he’s teamed up with theoutperformer.co as part of his Compliance To Commercial finance business partnering programs.

Andrew is based out of Sydney, Australia, is 15+ years a qualified Chartered Accountant  and has proven global experience across multiple industries.

 Key Quotes From the Episode:

 “I actually quite enjoy getting my hands dirty and being in the business rather than being in a board room and discussing all sorts of things.” [03:50]

“business partnering is all about trying to influence things and influence other functions that are non-finance and push them in a certain direction and provide them with insight on course correction” [07:16]

“and you can’t get influence until you have credibility and you’ve got to build up your credibility inside an organisation before you can even thing of influencing people and the credibility comes from the basic finance things that you need to do you’re month end reporting and all that sort of analysis that’s where you start to build your credibility. Some people try to cheat the system and provide that insight and influence straight away and if they haven’t got that credibility they’ll get shot down very quickly.” [07:30]

“Technical ability is great but it doesn’t help define you in an organisation.” [08:12]

 “And that’s the paradigm or paradox that most accounting and finance people have when they go to work in organisations is that they believe that their technical skills and doing another course and doing another program is going to get them and unlock them into this brilliant space in their career it’s not there’s other things that are going on and it’s applying that technical knowledge and being able to talk the language of people in your organisation and it’s the way you behave in the organisation the things that you say and things that you do and the way that you be, and how you interact with your team and how you interact with your peers that are non-finance people and how you interact with your boss they’re all really important to get you ahead in your career.” [09:49]

 “So if you’re going out there and doing course after course after course you’re missing out on that seventy percent which is on-the-job training and reinforcing what you’ve learned in those courses, you’ve got to have a connection between them.” [12:29]

 “Where we need to be as accountants and finance professionals is as trusted advisors for the organisations we’re in and the only way we can do that is to get a really deep breadth understanding of what’s going on within the business, and you can do that a thousand ways, but that’s really all about being commercial.” [16:57]

 “As accountants we are trained and we’re programmed and conditioned to be compliant in nature and objective, the world is a very complex place and so is business it’s more subjective it’s more grey and that’s where finance people can take that technical training which they need and start to add some value in businesses.” [17:16]

 “Finance Business Partnering is about recognising what my business partner is good at and getting them to do that and what I’m good at that they’re bad at and I can step in and help them do that and they can step in and help me do some stuff and together you become a better partnership.” [23:06]

 “I’ve always been told I’m quite a curious person and how do you teach curiosity, to teach curiosity is really hard to do but what I try and say is that you have to have an appetite to try and understand something, you have to own things, you have to want to understand a problem (not assume) and get to the bottom of it and dig deep into it if you really want to be helpful and provide value.” [25:23]

 “Be a bit vulnerable you won’t know everything but that’s okay no one does but the amount of learning you can do as every day [with a finance business partner mindset] is different and you learn something every day and you pocket that stuff and use it later on.” [30:48]

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

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • Where his passion for finance business partnering came from.
  • The paradox that most accounting & finance professionals have in organisations.
  • How Andrew came upon the expression “From Compliance To Commercial”..
  • A couple simple techniques for improving our credibility and becoming trusted advisors.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[02:50] – Why Andrew took the step to move from Audit into Commercial Industry roles

[03:37] – Explains why he changed his mind about not becoming a CFO of a listed company and became a virtual CFO instead.

[04:40] – Where his passion for finance business partnering came from.

[07:16] – Describes what business partnering is all about.

[07:30] – The one thing you need to do to avoid getting shot down when you’re trying to influence.

[08:12] – Why you’re technical ability doesn’t define you in an organisation .

[09:49] – The paradox that most accounting & finance professionals have in organisations.

[10:10] – How everyone has a story of less technically skilled peers getting promoted.

[12:05] – Shares where the biggest proportion of development comes from and how you can avoid missing out on it.

[12:58] – Trends Andrew is seeing when marking exam papers.

[16:03] – How Andrew came upon the expression “From Compliance To Commercial”.

[16:58] – Where we need to be heading as accountants and finance professionals.

[17:05] – How to become a trusted advisor.

[18:21] – What the digitisation of our profession can’t replace.

[19:37] – What’s exciting him most about finance

[22:29] – Shares areas we can add value that we sometimes take for granted as accountants.

[23:47] – Gives a great way of building your credibility.

[24:32] – The best bit of career advice Andrew has ever received.

[25:23] – How an appetite for understanding is an important component of being helpful.

[26:24] – 2 Books Andrew would recommend

[28:04] – Shares his hopes for our industry over the next 12 months.

[30:48] – The unseen benefit of being a bit vulnerable.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with today’s guest:

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