What does it mean to transform? In South Africa, much is said of the word “transformation”. Politicians share platitudes about seeking to transform our economy, our universities and our entire social landscape. Many South Africans agree that it is the key to moving our society forward. But what does this all-important word mean?
The Oxford Dictionary describes transformation as “a marked change in form, nature or appearance”. In the context of maths and logic, it means “a process by which one figure, expression, or function is converted into another one of similar value”.
From these two definitions, we glean that a transformation does not change the essence of something. For example, a society is made up of a group of people interacting. Even after it has undergone a transformation, it is still comprised of people interacting. However, its parts have changed. In our example, the people who have been interacting in that society would have changed their attitudes and behaviour. This would have led to a change in the nature of that society as a whole.
Let’s put the word transformation into another popular context: business. To transform your business, you’re not required to alter the make-up of the company. It will still be made up of managers and employees performing operational and supportive functions. But the ideas, attitudes and behaviour of the people who run the business would have undergone a fundamental change.
With that acknowledged, we at The Finance Team believe that a financial director can act as a change agent in your business. The reason? The right kind of financial director can help to fundamentally shift the way your business sees things, and as a result, the way you operate as a whole. Here are three ways this can work.
- A great financial director will help you determine the end goal. Denise Corcoran, a business and leadership coach at The Empowered Business, says great businesses decide their future. “They are not dictated by it,” says Corcoran. “They know exactly where they want to be, by when, how and then persist in getting there.”
This is where a financial director with strategic insight and experience comes in. He or she will help you know what your end goal should be. They’ll also help you decide how to shift your strategic focus in order to have the most prosperous outcome.
- A great financial director will help you develop real business intelligence. Rodger Hill, head of financial management at KPMG says: “Many finance functions are still struggling to produce real business information that helps business leaders make the right business decisions.” A financial director who has both vision and the ability to use finance tools optimally, however, has mastered this skill. “The focus needs to be on aligning data to the business metrics that drive real value, and moving away from downloading and reworking numbers,” says Hill.
- A great financial director will help you prepare for risk in a way you didn’t know was possible. Unless you have the insight and experience of a financial director, you won’t know what three consecutive quarters of economic retraction could (or could not) mean for your business. While you see only doom and gloom, your financial director could recognize where and how to buoy up for these times and capitalise on opportunities, carving out an advantage over your competitors.
The right financial director can help to change the nature of your business by helping you change the way you anticipate risk, overhaul your business intelligence and readjust your end goal. By so doing, your company will climb to greater heights. Contact The Finance Team to request a free cost analysis for a part-time or interim finance executive.