People considering a career in Finance and indeed, those you have already commenced their careers in Finance often ask the question what is the difference between the role of Finance Manager (FM) and Finance Business Partner (FBP)?

First to explain the role of the FM – a role that has been around a lot longer than that of a FBP! In summary, the FM is responsible for the financial health of an organization. The FM produces financial reports, directs investment activities, and develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization. FM’s help management to make financial decisions.

Next is the role of the FBP! In a Finance business partner model, the finance professional works closely with business leaders and line managers to develop successful, long term strategic relations which helps them to achieve shared organisational objectives. The role is to provide ‘real time’ support and analysis, to be a trusted adviser and to add value that will assist in decision making.

So, in summary, the roles are quite similar – the differences arise in the competencies of the person carrying out the role. The person that gets the role of the FBP will be very strong in the following areas.

Communication, Influencing and relationship skills in addition to someone who is proactive, can join the dots, can challenge, add-value and always embrace change.

Simple question is why would you hire a FM when you could hire a FBP instead? Surely the FBP will add far greater value to your bottom line?

The answer is simple really and, in my view, comes down to two main factors:

Many organisations are not disposed to hiring a FBP of such influence – they are not ready to hire someone of influence who will challenge people and decision making.
The other is financial and where supply and demand comes into play. FBPs that have these competencies and attributes tend to command a higher salary to the tune of 25% – they are in demand and their bargaining power reflects this!
Business Partnering is not exclusive to Finance – it is also a term used in all other functions of business such as HR and IT. Whilst technical finance skills are very important, soft skills are most definitely the icing on the cake!

Just to note – whether you identify as an FM or FBP, we are here to talk to you! Please phone Sarah or I for a chat.

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