One of the main truths we know in Finance is that income follows on from assets so long as an organisation is managing them well. I believe the same can be said for all the teams within organisations and in particular Finance, but as finance professionals in order to manage our assets so that they generate the most value we need to know what they are as well as be able to assess where we need to improve them. And how many of us actually can say that we know how to do both those things?
There’s a certain irony here that in Finance we’re not only expected to keep track of and safeguard the assets our organisations have, but also to accurately value them and advise decision-makers on how to make them more productive. So can we all honestly say that we are taking some of our own medicine for ourselves? Well given that many finance professionals I speak with aren’t aware of all the assets we have at our disposal in Finance, and how well these assets are performing relative to others then we could probably do with taking some of our own medicine here.
I actually say this tongue in cheek as our assets in Finance are more intangible and so at first glance harder to identify. Additionally we’ve probably never been shown how to think of these assets in a unified, joined up, and practical way that works. And we should not be too hard on ourselves, because day-to-day we are so close to our assets, that manifest themselves in the compliance checks we carry out, the systems we maintain, the policies we write, the reports we’ve built, the funds we transfer, the meetings we attend, it can be quite hard to see and distill what all our assets are and how they’re performing through all this whirling mess around us. As the old saying goes:
How can you notice a masterpiece when you nose is pressed up against it?
So I’ve aimed to demystify our Finance assets in a practical way that works on the principle that income follows assets and these assets exist in Finance teams of all sizes. However the extent to which we are aware of them and how they come together will determine how much value they ultimately create for our stakeholders.
I’ve boiled them down to the following six ASSETS:
One of the main reasons Finance exists in organisations, is that without us, many enterprises, entrepreneurs, business people would not fully know the extent of their own assets we record on the balance sheet and how well they are performing relative to others. So we’ve the technical skills to not only deconstruct an organisation’s value chain into its value drivers but to also consolidate their results into financial statements the analyse and report on what’s going on.
Relates to our broad view of the full field of play across the business and ability to join up the dots in order to develop the right mental and financial models to provide valuable advice of what our financial analysis means going forward for value creation, as well as to articulate our findings in the language of business to the right decision-makers.
This is generally our weakest asset as it often relies upon our less technical, softer skills. However to ultimately deliver value some of us have developed our abilities to tune into what our stakeholders deem important as well as adapt our responses so that we deliver on what they want in the most effective way and so improve our level of influence within our organisations.
ENGAGED on Commercials
Our access to key decision makers allows us to engage them on those decisions that have the most commercial impact on driving value for the business, here we anticipate what it is they will need to be successful and ensure our organisation is aligned to deploy and support these solutions for value creation.
TECH & DATA Savvy
In Finance we’ve traditionally been the only ones with access to financial transactional level data but nowadays we’re beginning to leverage cognitive computing technologies to access and blend both financial with non-financial data, automate some of our lower value workloads, and free up more time to use the latest applications to put our insights and influence into practice via visualisation tools and advanced modelling that leverages machine learning.
Our perceived integrity, independence and objective point of view within our organisations that we’ve gained from our profession’s many centuries supplying consistent and accurate insights allows us to credibly hold a mirror up to our organisations to ensure decisions balance short-term pressures against the interests of longer-term value creation.
So you were probably aware of most of these assets and that they coincidentally spell the word ASSETS. But how do you know you’re performing them in the most productive way possible so that you gain in relevance and as a result become in meaningful and rewarding work for your organisation? Well that’s why we bring on guest mentors to our Strength in the Numbers Show, to share with you their stories and hard won lessons and practically figured out how leverage their assets and strengths to contribute even more value in and for their organisations. And help you learn how to leverage your strengths in the numbers faster so you can have a more fun, rewarding and successful career as a finance professional.
So are there any other assets you would recommend? Or how do you know you’re assets are combining to create value?
The author Andrew Codd is the producer of the Strength in the Numbers Podcast which interviews real finance practitioners to break down their hard won lessons and deconstruct their practical methods that work on the job and which you won’t typically find in textbooks or exams so that we create more influential finance professionals worldwide who solve meaningful problems for their organisations and in return have fun, rewarding and successful careers in finance.