#234: A Case Study on Transforming Controllers into Better Business Partners

with Mohamed El Rouby

Our Guest Mentor:

Mohamed is Senior Commercial Finance / FP&A expert, with more than 18 years of experience in global multinational companies: J&J, Novartis, Allergan, Energizer & Shire. He has handled multiple international senior roles across Middle East, Africa, India, Turkey and Southwest Asia. Mohamed specialized in FP&A – Financial Planning & analysisCommercial FinanceFinance Business Partner, Business Controlling & Analysis and many other financial services. 

Mohamed is also Chartered Global Management Accountant from CIMA Chartered Institute of Management Accountant, UK, and Certified Corporate FP&A professional, from AFP Association for Financial Professional, USA. 

Mohamed has an MBA degree in Finance & Investment. 

Key Quotes From the Episode: 

[Start building credibility] implement quick win solutions then short and long term goals that add value to the business.[09:26] 

[In understanding the business] attend to all meetings as possible related to finance or not and contribute during the discussion.[10:21] 

Be humble, don’t act like a controller or a police inside the organization.[13:02] 

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

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Key Points From the Episode: 

 – Being new to the company and spotting problems by; 

  • Building relationship with stakeholders 
  • Conducting one on one meeting 
  • Consulting with staff and other departments concerned 
  • Soliciting feedback and expectation 

 – Setting the right direction for finance from a controlling department to business partnering  

 – Need quick win solutions? Understand the business first. 

Time Stamped Show Notes 

[03:10] – Mohamed shares his career journey being a finance business partner to pharmaceutical and FMCG companies across Middle East, Africa, India, Turkey and South East Asia. A Finance speaker, writer and  

[04:19]  Memorable events at Energizer that helped Mohamed’s career as he found the finance team is not giving the support to the business. 

[06:01 Being new to the company and spotting problems by; 

  1. Build relationship with stakeholders 
  2. Conduct one on one meeting 
  3. Consult with staff and other departments concerned 
  4. Solicit feedback and expectation 

[06:50] – Feedback he got from the engagement with other departments; 

  1. Finance was not involved to any decision making or business meeting 
  2. Finance is working in isolated environment 
  3. Providing report without insights 
  4. Weak relationship of finance to other functions 
  5. Lack of detailed and meaningful analytics 
  6. Multiple reports resulted to confusion of management 

[08:05]  Setting the right direction for finance from a controlling department to business partnering.  

[10:00] – Need quick win solutions? Understand the business first. 

[11:04] – Benefits of having outside of work meetings; 

Informal discussion outside of work pressure 

Speak to people freely  

Meet with them during field work 

Observe and understand day to day work of employees 

[12:41] – Employees were not used to see Mohamed do field visits and speak their language. 

[14:17 Reaching out those non-finance employees and for them understand accounting by speaking the common language.  

[14:52] – Transforming the business towards being more business partners by improving the reporting and performance management tools. 

[18:14] – Challenges Mohamed experienced during the introduction of improvements and the feedback he got from his superiors. 

[19:41] – Reporting tools that make their lives easy after the conduct of survey. 

[20:37 Seeking feedback through surveys, still the best way to learn. 

[21:46] – It takes time for the transition to realize and make actionable insights happen like sending the finance staff for field visit and make reports.  

[24:23] – Making actionable insights by coaching the business not challenging it. 

[27:09] – Gain the trust of stakeholders and become a true business partner as you influence the business decision making. 

[28:52] – Things that Mohamed would have done differently; 

– Getting the buy-in from senior management 

– Changing the mindset of the finance team 

– Listen more closely to customers 

[30:13] – The Middle East is also in the process of transitioning from its old finance practices into business partnering.  

[32:22] – The best bit of advice Mohamed received.  

[34:19] – Resources Mohamed recommend to our audience to check. 

[37:16] – Best way to connect to Mohamed. 

[38:53] – Mohamedparting thoughts on looking at the future and improve in the interpersonal skills.   

Resources Mentioned: 



Create value as a Finance Business Partner: Transforming the finance function into a profit centre ﷟HYPERLINK “https://www.audible.com/pd/Coaching-for-Performance-5th-Edition-Audiobook/146907589X?ds_rl=1262685&ds_rl=1263561&ds_rl=1260658&mkwid=DSAINTTitle_dc&pcrid=239333741509&pmt=b&pkw=&source_code=GO1GBSH07271690CB&cvosrc=ppc%20dynamic%20search.google.634950925&cvo_crid=239333741509&cvo_pid=33581432409&gclid=CjwKCAiA-P7xBRAvEiwAow-VaRdDJCx_D5XzY4B6iIbW3E1dJ4Mgj2n6VtWhyFmYhcSy-wghbWKMbRoCv1YQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds”by Mr Bo Foged, Mr Anders Liu-Lindberg https://www.amazon.com/Create-value-Finance-Business-Partner/dp/1724850741 


The Audacious Finance Partner by Andrew Codd https://www.amazon.com/Audacious-Finance-Partner-Andrew-Codd-ebook-dp-B01KGP8JEW/dp/B01KGP8JEW/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid= 


Compliance to Commercial: The QUIET Approach to Finance Business Partnering Book by Andrew Jepson https://www.amazon.com/Compliance-Commercial-Approach-Business-Partnering/dp/0648342301 


Who Moved My Cheese? Book by Spencer Johnsonhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4894.Who_Moved_My_Cheese_ 

Connect with today’s guest: 

LinkedIn Profile: ﷟HYPERLINK “https://www.linkedin.com/in/karlhkern/” https://www.linkedin.com/in/elrouby/ 


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