In our experience, professional services firms that have invested time to develop its strategy around a business partner style relationship with internal support services such as IT, Marketing, HR and Finance are often more successful and make more informed strategic decisions.
Last week theGrogroup had a great meeting with a regional Accountancy firm. The Partner we were meeting had mentioned several times on the phone and in his emails that the firm was ‘different’ and had plans to really build on this. On turning up at reception, we were whisked away to a 1920’s style leather sofa in an barista style coffee shop and was treated to a very sharp Americano. Yes indeed, this was a little different.
But, as we discovered, what really did differentiate this firm from the vast majority that we work with and talk to, was the inclusion of the heads of Marketing, HR, IT and Finance not only in the partnership, but also on the management board and in making strategic decisions. Now it clearly makes sense for a modern firm to be drawing on the expertise, experiences and knowledge of these vital core business areas when making strategic decisions and steering the firm along it’s path. Yet we rarely see the heads of these functions given such prominence in firms where partnership is off-limits to anyone who isn’t a qualified and experienced ‘professional’. This is one of the major reasons why firm’s struggle to align their strategy and direction with all aspects of people management, internal and external messaging and systems and technology. HR, IT, Marketing and Finance need to be part of, or closely partnering, the senior management team.
Coincidentally, the very next day we delivered a session on ‘Business Partnering’ to the global finance team of a technology business at their conference. The team were highly skilled, highly professional, driven, innovative and deeply knowledgeable about all aspects of finance, costing, funding and forecasting. Yet when we asked them what words they think the business would use to describe the team, the most common adjectives were “reactive, efficient, functional and reliable.” Certainly not negative words, but words that demonstrated just how far away they saw themselves from being a valued business partner.
Our Business Partnering programmes help professional services firms to develop the skills, tools, behaviours and, most importantly, the confidence that enable high quality core or support managers to have impact on the direction and decision making of a firm or business. Our belief is that if more firms embraced the concept of utlising the essential input of HR, IT, Marketing and Finance at the most senior levels then we know this will have positive results..
If you would like to find out more about our Business Partnering programme, please contact Kate on 01892 610060 to arrange a free meeting with one of our consultants.
theGrogroup is a specialist consultancy that helps Professional Services Firms win in a competitive marketplace. Our bespoke solutions are designed to align people with an effective strategy. This ensures key areas such as business development, client advisory, commerciality, leadership and practice succession effectively support business goals in an environment where people are empowered to drive results and create a winning firm.