Has finance ever said "No" to you?


Pop up your hand if you have ever been told No by finance.

Keep up your hand up if you have ever been told No by finance more than once.

Keep your hand up if this answer leaves you feeling happy and content.

See if you can relate to any of these situations:

  • You have a serious deadline on a project you are leading. Needing advice on a complex financial matter quickly, you walk all the way over to the finance office where you are greeted with a friendly "NO". We're all too busy. You should have made an appointment"
  • They are not accessible.
  • You send an email requesting some assistance and the answer is NO. Poor communication.
  • You send in an expense claim and the finance team says "NO". You have not filled it out correctly" but they don't tell you what is required to make it correct.
  • You have a great idea but it is out of the budget. You put a solid business case together and you ask finance for some leniency. Their response: NO. Finance does not appear part of the business.

We have all shared in these NO experiences and the frustration that comes with it.

The NO culture has created a stigma around finance and given it a bad reputation.

Tell me if you have experienced any of these dealing with finance.

  • deadlines
  • compliance
  • black and white
  • seen as a hindrance
  • red tape
  • always busy
  • the enforcer of policies and procedures

However, I genuinely believe as a Finance Professional, I believe it is time for a change. I believe that Finance Leaders are the key to this change.

Being an effective finance leader is no easy task. It is more than just the numbers.

I imagine that it is the finance leaders need to stop the No Culture. To STOP Saying NO they need to have the following qualities

  1. Integrity
  2. Strong communication skills
  3. Interpersonal skills
  4. Have Accessibility

To elaborate on some of these

1. Integrity

You must be seen a person with Integrity and be respected and trusted, setting the tone for the entire organisation through ethical behaviour and straightforward communication.

2. Communication

Finance teams tend to stay hidden in their holes behind their monitors doing secret money business. This isolation results in them being the last to know about what is going on and often known as the arse-end of the business.

Change number one: Leaders get out of your holes. Become a trusted partner of the staff, line managers and leaders. Stop saying "no" and start saying "how can I help you" Engage and show them the reason you exist.

What goes around comes around. If finance assists the staff and makes the job easier maybe they won't be the last to know, and maybe one day we may not be known as the arse-end of the business

Finance must be seen as an ENABLER.

They must take the lead in critical business discussions and have a seat at the table during negotiations and key presentations.

They must be able to communicate complex information effectively and field challenging questions with ease.

They must be clear and concise and be persuasive with their messages and must be seen as how can I help you and not say NO.

They must get out of their holes and interact with the business.

3. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills tie in well with communication and are essential. Finance staff has a stigma of being bean counters and being boring. They are human just like you and me and do not bite.

Finance must collaborate with a wide range of people from board members, directors, executives, investors, auditors, management and staff.

The best finance leaders are masters at navigating office politics, making public statements, giving bad news and achievements. They have the ability to suit the background and priorities of the different individuals.

4. Have Accessibility

Finance leaders must embrace change and recognise change is constant and have a flexible mindset and be ACCESSIBLE when it comes to monitoring company policies and practices. They must share information to assist the business in making informed decisions.

They must be seen as enablers helping the organisation to address new business developments successfully.

The writer Abraham Polonsky said I'll give you my answer calmly and sensibly, my final answer. My final answer is finally no. The answer is no! Absolutely and finally no! Finally and positively no! No! No! No! N - O!

Imagine this ............... that the finance team who does not say NO and is invisible and seen as an essential service and fully integrated into the business as a true business partner.

I truly believe it is possible.

If you would like your finance team to stop saying No get hold of Adam Carter - Carmalk Consulting  0400 761 700 and he will say YES.

Adam Carter | Carmalk Consulting


M: 0400 761 700

W: (07) 3869 2573

E: info@carmalkconsulting.com.au

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