What skills do finance business partners need in order to drive value creation in the organisation and how can these be developed?

It is key to have a good business acumen for better linking the marketplace demands with the message given to the company management about the financial results.

As business-oriented player, finance needs to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills in order to build strong bonds with the different levels of management within the organisation. In real terms, the added value from finance is created when efficiently interacting with a broad audience of people who need to get better acquainted of the financial impact from revenue and cost drivers.

Sales and marketing teams need to receive feedback from finance in real time in order to stay ahead of the wave when making profitability decisions. Therefore, “anticipation of events” and ability to manage complex data for analysis are also some of the well-appreciated skills.

Nowadays, when managing or participating in a business project, having fast results is one of the main criteria to determine the success of it. Also, “creative thinking” delivering robust solutions to challenging problems as well as being “problem-solving” oriented are two aspects to take into consideration when partnering with the business managers.

A better way to develop good finance skills, which add value to the organisation, is getting out of the comfort zone by closely collaborating with the Sales, Marketing and Operations functions in the projects driving the company business. The work field of finance professionals involves an increased motion of getting out of their own desk in order to better comprehend the motivations, needs, and feelings of their stakeholders!

How can strong performance management improve your customer service?

You firstly need to know yourself in order to really know what your customers want and need. This is what strengthening performance management is all about.

The company needs to position itself in the market to see what it can offer and see how the products provide a competitive advantage for targeted customers. We can run a SWOT analysis to get a broad enough vision of the company’s positioning into the business market. However, we need to convert big ideas into actionable items with timing, resources, and monetary impact evaluation. It is at this point that a company with strong performance management in place makes a big difference in approaching the customers with the best solutions to outstand their expectations.

Obviously, company management needs to be customer focused and open-minded enough to oversee the company goals in the same terms and conditions for driving customer profitability. In essence, that is the meaning of partnering with your customers and building strong and long-term relationships with them.

How can Finance contribute in the change management and turnaround projects?

The “best-in-class” finance function strives to influence the outcomes, individuals, and the organisation by using data and persuasive techniques that help build a strong Leadership within the company management with a sound judgment for decision-making on profitability and business concerns. It develops strategic foresight by exploring all possible organisational futures and marketplace challenges ahead of fostering the projects turnaround.

The finance manager coaches the company management by balancing out the business decisions with qualitative data and always having the risk assessment in mind. He/she meets the deadlines and delivers an added-value reporting which includes a thorough analysis of the financial impact from company decisions.

In this sense, all of the above are a set of tools for finance supporting the transition of performance management in a safe and reliable way as long as the big picture of risk assumptions is also taken into consideration. However, there is one determinant factor for succeeding such an ambition which is counting with “finance oriented” management in the company. So far, we have been talking about “Business oriented”, but what about “Finance oriented”?
After more than 10 years as a finance executive, I have learned that company management needs to also be as open-minded as possible to receive some quantitative and qualitative business feedback from finance.

Finally, another challenging task for finance in a turnaround of either project or management decision is taking the goal-keeper role of the shareholder interests.
This is why the relationship between finance and Shareholders/Legal needs to be transparent, fluent, and independent.

Why does traditional management no longer work, and what can Finance experts do instead?

We need to look at the main traits of the traditional management to realise why it cannot longer work in comparison with the current “fast-moving” economic, social, and business environment.
In essence, traditional management is hierarchical focused, process and objective driven and aims to demonstrate authority and command in its decision-making process. 
In this scenario, we realise that this management style does not match very well with the actual virulent and dynamic environment.

In contrast to the above, we define modern management as flexible and adaptable to the circumstances and is focussed on individual growth and team contribution. Now, it prevails to achieve the goals based upon the cross-functional dynamics since it has highly demonstrated that positive synergies are mostly created from team contribution rather than individual service. This makes the company to target more competitive goals whilst sticking out from the competition as well as keeping employees more motivated by working towards the company objectives as a single force.

In the past, finance used to be seen as a separate function from the company business structure for which the main responsibility was to communicate and ratify the financial results to the company management.
Book-keeping and transactional tasks took most of the resources from finance. The main aim was to keep it separated from the business reality in order to make sure that its voice was independent from any market influence, but void of business context!

Nowadays, the approach from finance must be completely different as it will succeed in the new environment according to the adaptation degree to the modern management style. It needs to be an additional element of the Organisation that works out as part of the company machinery.

In this sense, the key success factor for finance is influencing the business with sceptical opinion and challenging the management decisions with data and strategic thinking, as well as being flexible enough to understand that finance cannot be the function which “always finds a hair in the soup”.

Definitively, the adaptability to a fast-changing situation while having a good technical reputation is key for finance to build strong Leadership in companies leaded by the modern management scheme.

What would you like to achieve by attending the 6th Edition Business Performance Management Conference?

As finance manager, one of my main tasks is analysing the business performance and giving feedback about the economic impact from sales and profitability decisions. This “coaching” role is becoming more and more intensive in my line of work, and consequently, it is also relevant to define my own professional growth.

By attending this Conference, I expect to learn more about best practices of performance management while exchanging experiences with other finance and business managers who are especially interested in strengthening this discipline in their respective companies.
As said in the previous question, we are currently living in a very “fast-moving” and “results-demanding” environment that takes a big portion of my energy. Therefore, I think that it is very positive to take some time to get new ideas and renew my mental blood while benchmarking with other companies on performance management.

Finally, I am also interested to network with other people who have some responsibility in sales, marketing or finance. I am confident that it will be a great experience!


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For more information, contact:
Yiota Andreou



Ahead of the 6th Edition Business Performance Management Conferencewe spoke with Mr. Marc Miralles, Head of Finance, Planning & Analysis EMEA at Novus International about how Finance can contribute in the change management and turnaround projects. On the second day of the conference, Mr. Miralles will be participating in one of our panel discussions entitled ''What the Finance organisation will look like in the future''. Read his interview below.

Previous Attendees Include:
AB Inbev
AB Tetra Pak
AB Volvo
Arcelor Mittal
Casco Adhesives AB
Coca Cola
Deloitte Consulting
DHL Global Business Services
Fortum Power and Heat OY
GDF Suez
Goodyear Dunlop Tires
Kinepolis Group
Kraft Foods
Maersk Line
Philips Electronics
Raiffeisen Bank
ST Microelectronics
Stora Enso OYJ
Vestas Towers
World Trade Organisation


About the Conference:

This marcus evans strategic finance event will look beyond KPIs and scorecards, and discuss topics around a more proactive and market-oriented approach to controlling. We will discuss finance business partnering, and people development challenges around that, change management and turnaround projects, pricing transformation and reporting innovations, as well as other hands-on business finance topics. The 6th Edition Business Performance Management Conference will take place from the 22nd to 24th of May 2017 at Novotel Am Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany.


Copyright © 2017 Marcus Evans. All rights reserved.

Practical Insights From:


Amadeus Data Processing


Berlin School of Economics and Law

Bilfinger GVA





IBM Europe

LEAX Group



Novus International

Sandoz International

Snellman Group


Thomas Cooper


About the speaker:

Marc Miralles joined Novus, his current employer, in 2013 with the main goal to lead the turnaround of finance performance at the Spanish subsidiary. After one year and a half, he was promoted to his current position of Manager Finance, planning and analysis for taking over the functions of cost accounting, credit and financial analysis for the EMEA region with a focus on driving the profitability analysis over 49 countries and monitoring the plant controlling of two production sites based in Germany and Spain, in close cooperation with the Business and Operations managers.
He started his professional career in the retail sector in 2001 where he had the opportunity to intensively participate as a key user in the SAP implementation as well as supporting the financial restructuring process of the company in the context of merging with other market players.
After that, he worked 8 years in the FMCG sector with direct accountability on finance and accounting for Spain and Portugal. In that role, he contributed to numerous process improvement projects related to organisational, systems, reporting and work flow optimisation (SSC, AP, cost accounting, investment management). Marc has a bachelor in Business administration and holds an MBA.


How can Finance contribute in the change management and turnaround projects?






An interview with the Head of Finance, Planning & Analysis EMEA of Novus International 

Mr. Marc Miralles, Head of Finance, Planning & Analysis EMEA at Novus

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