Hiring a finance business partner (FBP) has become essential for businesses of all sizes. An FBP will bridge the gap between your departments, using their financial expertise and data-gathering skills to provide strategic recommendations for your business. Without an FBP, making data-driven decisions becomes difficult, leaving your business open to financial risks.

In this guide, we will explain what the role of a finance business partner is and provide a step-by-step process for hiring one for your business.

What is a Finance Business Partner?

A finance business partner is a senior advisor who works closely with various departments within a company to provide financial insights and support strategic decision-making. They analyse financial data to help your business plan and achieve its goals. To be successful in this role, the FBP must have strong analytical skills and the ability to communicate complex financial information clearly.

Responsibilities of a Finance Business Partner

Finance business partners are involved in various aspects of financial management and strategic planning. Below are some key areas where FBPs add value to your organisation:

Strategic Planning and Analysis

An FBP will play an important role in your business’s strategic planning. They will analyse financial data, market trends, and business performance to identify any opportunities or risks. They will then present their data-driven recommendations to your senior management to guide the future direction of your business.

Budgeting and Forecasting

An FBP will help you create effective budgets that ensure your company’s spending aligns with its strategic goals. They will collaborate with the different departments and utilise the gathered data to set realistic financial targets. This collaborative process ensures that every part of your business is working towards the same financial objectives.
FBPs will also prepare financial forecasts to predict future performance based on historical data, market trends, and business assumptions. This accurate forecasting can help you plan for various scenarios and make any necessary adjustments to ensure your business remains competitive.

Performance Monitoring and Reporting

Keeping your finger on the pulse of your business’s performance allows you to make informed decisions and quickly address any issues before they turn into major problems. An FBP will handle this for you by regularly tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and compiling their findings into performance reports. These reports provide you with clear insights into your company’s financial health and highlight any areas that require attention.

Decision Support and Advisory

FBPs act as advisors to your management. They use their financial expertise to evaluate the potential impact of various business decisions, including strategic initiatives, investments, and operational changes. They will then present their findings to help management understand the potential risks and benefits of different decisions.

Let’s say your business is considering expanding into a new market. Your FBP will analyse this business decision by looking at the costs, potential revenue, and financial implications of this expansion. You can then make a sound decision whether entering the new market is worth the potential risks or rewards.

Risk Management and Compliance

FBPs help minimise the impact of potential risks on your company’s financial health. To do this, they will analyse market risks, operational risks, and compliance risks. If any risks are identified, the FBP will develop strategies that ensure you avoid any financial impacts or legal issues.

How to Hire a Finance Business Partner

If you’re ready to bring an FBP’s strategic insights and effective risk management into your business, follow our step-by-step hiring process:

1. Identifying the Need for a Finance Business Partner

The first step in hiring an FBP is identifying your business’s needs. This will typically depend on the size of your business, your current challenges, and your future plans.

Once you have identified your specific needs, you can then develop a clear job description. This should outline the key responsibilities required for the role to help attract the right candidates for your business.

2. Essential Qualifications and Experience

To ensure your business benefits from hiring an FBP, you need to look for candidates with the right qualifications. The candidate should have a degree in finance or accounting, with additional certifications.

They should also have a minimum of three years of experience in strategic planning, budgeting, and financial analysis. Selecting candidates who have worked with businesses of similar size or within your industry ensures they can understand your specific needs and offer valuable insights.

3. Competencies and Soft Skills to Look For

FBPs need certain skills to succeed in their role and contribute to your organisation’s success. Look for candidates with strong analytical skills who can interpret complex financial data and provide actionable insights. They should also have a solid understanding of financial modelling and forecasting.

Effective communication is another important skill to look for. FBPs need to present financial information clearly to non-financial stakeholders to ensure they can support strategic decisions. Other important soft skills include problem-solving, teamwork, and the ability to work under pressure.

4. Interviewing and Selection Process

Once you have a shortlist of candidates with the right certifications, experience, and skills, you can begin the interview process. When interviewing an FBP, it’s important to include the key stakeholders that they will be working with. This can include any department heads and senior members of the finance team, such as the finance director or financial controller. This can help you determine the candidate’s ability to collaborate across different departments.

You will need to prepare questions to ask the candidate during the interview. These questions should assess the candidate’s technical abilities and their soft skills. For example, you can ask them to explain a complex financial concept, such as cash flow forecasting, while also paying attention to how they describe this information to the non-financial interviewers.

Once you’ve identified the right candidate for your business, it’s time to make them an offer. The offer you make needs to reflect their experience level and the value you expect them to bring to your company.

5. Integrating a Finance Business Partner into Your Team

The work doesn’t stop once your chosen candidate has signed their employment agreement. Ensuring they are seamlessly integrated into your team is crucial for their success and retention. A well-structured onboarding program can facilitate this process and help them hit the ground running.

A comprehensive onboarding program should include an introduction to your company’s financial systems and processes. Offering training on your company’s specific financial software and reporting practices will enable them to perform their role effectively from day one. You should also schedule meetings with all department heads and senior management to kickstart the collaboration.

Challenges in Finance Business Partner Hiring

Hiring an FBP can come with certain challenges. FBPs need to work closely with various departments, which can have their own goals and communication styles. If there are any misunderstandings or collaboration blockers, this can impact the FBP’s ability to perform their role effectively. To prevent this, ensure clear communication channels and regular meetings are established from the start.

Another common challenge for FBPs is keeping up with industry trends and best practices. The financial landscape is constantly evolving, and an FBP must stay current to provide valuable insights. You can support your FBP by providing access to continuous learning and professional development to ensure they stay up to date.

In certain cases, businesses misidentify their needs and mistakenly hire an FBP when they actually need an accountant. This error can be a significant setback, leading to frustration for both the business and the FBP. If your primary need is for transactional tasks like bookkeeping and basic financial reporting, it’s better to hire an accountant from the start.

Hire a Finance Business Partner with Tiger Finance

Tiger Finance is a specialist finance recruitment agency with the experience and expertise to find the right finance business partner for your organisation. Our recruitment process is thorough and tailored to meet your specific needs. We will support you along every step of the hiring process, from candidate sourcing to salary guidance to effective integration.

Fill in our request form to partner with our professional finance business partner recruiters.

Author Beverley Barbarash Tiger Recruitment Team