Finance Needs A 20/20 Vision On The Business
In order to drive value creation in a business, it’s important that all employees and functions focus on doing what they do best. Sales should focus on meeting customers, explaining the value proposition and closing deals, operations should focus on delivering the product as agreed, procurement needs to secure the lowest possible price from the vendors etc. No frontline function that’s involved in running the business will have an in-depth view of what’s going on in other functions and how they’re performing. Their view is so to speak limited to any handover points they might have. Now does that mean that it’s only the CEO that has the full overview of what goes on in the business? No, of course not, and here we enter the support functions. Support functions like HR, IT and Finance support all parts of the business having a focus on people, digitalization and business performance to name a few. They are, however, doing it from their own point of view and despite supporting the whole business their view could be limited too.
Finance needs to have a full overview of the business
If we then zoom in on Finance and discuss how good a view the function has on the business it’s clear that without having a 20/20 vision on the business, Finance will fall short on supporting the business and the CEO, in particular, on driving business performance and value creation. By 20/20 vision is meant the following starting with the official definition.
” 20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.”
To translate it into the current context it’s not asking for something superhuman when wanting Finance to have a 20/20 vision on the business. Essentially Finance should see what goes on in each part of the business like a normal person but not like a specialist who would see things even clearer (and yes it’s possible to have a better vision than 20/20). By having this vision into the business, Finance would be able to not only have a full overview of the business but more importantly be able to have a performance dialogue in a business context rather than a pure numbers context.