Finance Business Partnering Success Story

I’m Colt Meraw, Director of FP&A at the Urban Institute. Right now we actually have a finance generalist strategy. I think we’re gonna go back and take a hard look at whether or not we should be developing finance experts rather than constantly having finance generalists across the team. We found that they need to enhance their business partnership in a number of ways, be that presentations to the board, or structuring their data and analytics to provide both their business partners in the executive and the business level. Urban Institute needed to see how they compared with other finance clients. So one of the first areas that we talked about was benchmarking. Next area that we focused on was finance talent. Urban Institute wanted to know what leading edge teams were doing to advance their finance capabilities. So based on some information we’ve learned from Gartner, we found that really coaching should focus on the innate, hard to develop competencies. In particular, I think it’s really important to develop the communication skills and persuasive skills of your finance talent to make sure that the analytics you’re building are actually making an impact for decisions across the organization. Next, we’re able to focus on tactical action planning by focusing on the board presentations that were produced every quarter. A broken business partnership model can ultimately lead to a breakdown of the culture at large, but also, in the end, organizational value. We utilize our decision expertise research to show Urban Institute that not all decisions support is handled the same way. Our working relationship with Gartner is a great one. Our client partner in particular really pushes me to make sure our initiatives continue to move forward rather than get lost with the abundance of tasks we have on a day to day basis.

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