A reporting system based on actual/budget comparisons referring to a budget prepared in the past – how forward-looking is that? And how meaningful is it, if even a rolling planning measures deviations to the previous plan?
In my CFO days, the day we as a Group switched from actual/budget comparisons to actual/actual (this year vs. last year) with a rolling forecast felt like true liberation. From one day to the next, the entire organization was discussing real developments and a forecast based on the latest findings, rather than using every report to explain how the assumptions made in the previous budgeting process had since become obsolete.
My Plan-to-Perform Review aims to shift the attention from the present reality to the anticipated future, to limit budget comparisons on accountability, and to translate Albert Einstein’s quote about making «everything as simple as possible, but not simpler than that» into practical reality. It includes:
- Ensuring that the issues raised in the Strategic Foresight process are incorporated into reporting at the relevant priority level
- Breaking the force of habit, scrapping metrics and reports that are no longer relevant, and creating space for the new
- Aligning the process primarily with real-world developments and the future
- Letting the needs of the business rather than the calendar dictate the pace
The objective is to not only implement a future-ready strategy, but to keep its real-time and forward-looking performance squarely in sight. Let’s talk about that!
Finance Organization and GBS Sparring
Are you digitalizing your back office with the same intensity as your customer interface? Are you familiar with Parkinson’s Law, which states that bureaucracy will inevitably expand, regardless of actual workload? When you think about the digital and mobile future of work, do you tend to see problems or opportunities?
Since my early CFO years when I had to contend with significant organizational downsizing, I have always taken a constant and critical look at the administrative departments and used the benchmarking tool to guide adjustments. I recognized the potential that active organizational development holds for the back office – and I landed at Global Business Services (GBS). The GBS sector has undergone a fascinating development: What began as a way to cut costs has steadily evolved, assuming increasing responsibility for engineering end-to-end processes. Together with IT, GBS is already driving digitalization efforts for administration at companies all over the world. Automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, the metaverse – if we combine the perspective of how work will look in the future with the digital and mobile possibilities, we get the sense taht we are only at the beginning of an evolution that needs to be shaped in a positive way. What a wonderful challenge!
I serve as your sparring partner amidst the flood of strategic questions that emerge:
- What should be centralized, what should be decentralized?
- What should be done in-house, what should be outsourced to external business partners?
- How does the current situation factor in? And how about the corporate culture?
- What needs to be considered in terms of digital and location-specific opportunities?
- What if true sustainability in all three dimensions is the guiding line?
- And, not least, what does culture and psychological safety have to do with the future of work?
I have been shaping finance organizations for what feels like my entire life, at different levels of hierarchy, in different countries and cultures, at different levels of corporate maturity, from relatively small to the global shared service organization of a multinational corporation. With every single assignment, either by building from scratch or transforming what was there, I was able to leave behind something better than what I found. I don’t think there’s much I haven’t seen. Leverage my experience and passion for creating a better future to guide and advise you as your sparring partner for organizational development.
Peter took the difficult assignment to create one global shared service organization, he was looking for finding a good balance between standardization and flexibility to stay open to different business needs. He had a vision how to build and lead shared services and consequently managed to take stakeholders and leaders to follow it. He has always surprised me by looking for new inspirations, best practice and how to apply it to create business value. I recommend Peter as a professional advisor and seasoned leader who experienced a lot and can dedicate his heart and mind.
Peter's skill is not only to think futurist and strategic but to empower and encourage people around him to join and participate in that thinking. With Peter a group discussion becomes truly a team discussion, goals become shared, and success moves away from individualism, into the power, the contribution, and the fun of the collective.
Peter worked hard for promoting cross-function cooperation, encouraged out-of-the box thinking and a solution-oriented approach. His efforts contributed a lot to the positive image change of the CFO function – so that we in Finance were no longer seen as barrier-builders, but rather as support and advisors to the business.