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Special report - Strategic planning

In June 2003 we asked Faculty members which of a list of 28 issues they wanted addressed in the next 12 months. Strategic planning was rated third with 61% of the votes. We also asked which of those topics were the most important and, again, strategic planning came third. Clearly this is a topic on which members are demanding technical support in their business careers.

And it is the CEO who is most likely to be injured if the car crashes. A new report from the International Federation of Accountants' Professional Accountants in Business Committee (free from www.ifac.org ) examines what went wrong - and right - in a number of recent high-profile business cases, looking in particular at strategy and governance. The lesson is that business needs good governance, but it must also have the right strategy in place - and the FD plays an integral part in shaping and managing strategy, as well as in explaining it to investors and other external stakeholders. Indeed, the FD must be able to understand the strategy and communicate it to all interested parties.

This special report provides both the theory and the practice you need to fulfil your role. We asked Tony Grundy, senior lecturer in strategic management at Cranfield School of Management and a well-known author of books on strategy, to look at some of the key practical areas to consider. His article is followed by an examination of the role of the FD in each stage of the strategy process, written by Judith Shackleton and myself.