How do I become a Finance Business Partner

Uncategorized Jan 16, 2023

So you want to become a Finance Business Partner, but don't know how?

Surprisingly you probably already are one and you:

  • didn't know it (because nobody gave you the title) or
  • are doing it poorly (because nobody has ever shown you how).

Lets address both of these issues separately.

Firstly Finance Business Partnering is not a title or a role, although there are people out there with that title or role. It is simply a phrase we use to describe people who work in finance, who work with other people in the organisation who are NOT in finance.

Now if I asked you do you work in finance. You would say yes

If I then asked do you have interactions with people in other functions outside of finance you would probably say yes.

Then you are finance business partnering.

Which means it covers pretty much anyone from the entry level accountant, A/R clerk or shared services person all the way up to the CFO and Finance Directors in your organisation.

Finance Business Partnering is Finance people working effectively with non finance people.

If you are able to do that then you are one. The question then becomes how well are you doing it.

For most finance people they do it very poorly and it is usually because we are conditioned to be the opposite to what good looks like by our role, or the advice we get given through our careers is the opposite of what we want to do.

And it comes down to one thing, your behaviours and the WAY you do things.

Advice like I want you to manage performance, hold people accountable, make recommendations, be critical of areas that are not performing, challenge people, etc are all admirable.

But if you want people to work with you effectively they never work.

They create resistance with other functions, often forcing them to avoid you or at worst, actively work around you.

Things slow right down, you don't get the information you ask for, you don't get the questions you ask, and you rarely get brought into the conversations that matter until really late.


The alternative is to treat your interactions with other functions as if you are working with a customer.

You would never challenge, criticise, make recommendations they didn't ask for, etc if you were dealing with a customer.

No, you would find out what their issues, problems and pain points are, and then work on providing solutions for them. 

So if you want to become a Finance Business Partner firstly understand that you probably already are one, or aspects of your job mean you are doing it already.

And secondly understand it all comes down to your style. The way you do things. If people in non finance want you to work with them, then you are well on your way.


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