Chartered Accountants' Hall recently hosted the inaugural face to face event for finance business partners working in central government departments, agencies and other public bodies.
ICAEW was very pleased to the group meeting for the Finance Business Partner Network on 13 March 2023. Finance business partners from across government and staff from the Government Finance Function’s people and capability team came to Chartered Accountants' Hall to discuss how this new network can help build capability, collaboration and career development for finance business partners working in central government and to design a programme for the coming six to nine months.
The steering group was joined by a finance business partner from Lloyds Banking Group, who gave his perspective on the role. Despite the greater maturity of the finance business partner role in the private sector, the steering group heard how many of the challenges are similar to those encountered in government. These include overcoming the perception that the role is primarily about being the "person who sends out the numbers" instead of being a key member of the management team they are supporting, who can add real value to decision-making.
Irrespective of sector, finance business partners need a "relentless curiosity" and an ability to build credibility, balancing being seen as integral to the organisation, whilst still being sufficiently challenging around performance.
Most of the meeting was taken up in discussing and formulating a variety of plans for the network over the rest of 2023, putting together a programme to reach the wider finance business partner (and aspiring finance business partner) community across central government. These included:
- A regular finance business partner newsletter/communication
- Finance business partner "champions" in each department and in larger agencies and public bodies to cascade messages and provide feedback to the network
- Learning events on an array of topics
- How to work with Regional Finance networks
- Collecting case studies around how the Guide to Finance Business Partnering in Government and the Finance Business Partner Service Offer Toolkit have been applied since their launch in 2022
Rob Dodds (MOD) and Seema Srinivasan (HMRC) co-chairs of the Government Finance Business Network, commented: "We also got an insight into a product ICAEW are developing for roll out across government departments, the Public Sector Sustainability Certificate for Finance Business Partners, and we had the opportunity to feed into the course design."
A registration page has been established on the One Finance government intranet, with finance business partners and their teams from across government already starting to sign up to join the network. The group will continue to communicate out across GFF and wider Government and are involved in Civil Service Live events across the country this Summer, supporting the Government Finance Function.