IBP From the Eyes of a CFO Part 1- Covenants of Performance

Written by Crystal Lee

The increased accountability that comes with implementing an Integrated Business Plan sometimes isn’t welcomed news within a company. While most people like the word “accountability” there are some that only like the idea if it’s not them you are holding accountable!  High performers, on the other hand, will naturally respond positively to the challenges that come with increased role clarity, decision rights, and empowerment. As we embark on a new blog series, we will examine one highly valued member of the business team who has a vested interest in the financial viability of a business, and often longs for deeper accountability throughout the organization… the CFO.

Perhaps no one at a company is more invested in the fiscal success of a company than the “custodian of the numbers.” As such, the CFO often – and unfairly – ends up with the reputation for being a corporate dictator. The profitability of a company being the ultimate purview of the chief financier, relationships often end up strained by the office in charge of keeping the company books. The beauty of Integrated Business Planning (IBP), from the vantage point of a CFO, is that it empowers business teams to take responsibility for their own targets, projections, and strategies. Monthly IBP reviews release the CFO from the burden of diagnosing and explaining fiscal health, and instead place them in the role of the sought-out business advisor.

When a high-functioning IBP process is in place, the CFO no longer feels the pressure to act like the corporate equivalent of a school principal, and instead assumes the role of trusted guidance counselor.

In essence, an Integrated Business Plan creates covenants of performance within an organization. Teams become accountable to their stated goals. They now own their projections and present clearly the assumptions behind their numbers.  The days of reconciling sets of numbers for the sake of it and trying to explain why numbers changed without any context are over. Think about the endless hours you’ve spent doing this same thing.

IBP drives clarity on the plan, what’s in it, and what is not.  There is ownership for the plan and measurement to understand what actually happened and how to improve going forward.  This level of understanding, transparency, ownership, and measurement is welcomed news for the CFO, who can now enter the room as one whose skillsets are present for the purpose of assistance rather than oversight.

At the end of the day, few individuals desire to play the role of drill sergeant. Most teams members want to be part of a collaborative, successful enterprise that IBP helps create. The CFOs I know are no different.

Read our white paper and watch our webinar on this topic.