FP&A Business Partnering in Focus of the Dubai FP&A Board

By Larysa Melnychuk, Managing Director at FP&A Trends group

The second meeting of the Dubai FP&A Board, launched in October 2016, took place at the stunning InterContinental Dubai Marina on 15th February 2017. 

The mission of the International FP&A Board is to guide the development and promotion of best practices in global FP&A, identify and support new trends, skillsets and innovations. Almost 30 FP&A professionals from such international and local Middle Eastern companies as Abu Dhabi Ship Building, Al Jaber Group, Applus, Barclays Bank, Colas, Emirates NBD, Landmark, Panalpina, Siemens, TGI Group, etc., gathered to discuss an essential subject of FP&A Business Partnering.

The event was sponsored by Michael Page, one of the world's leading professional recruitment consultancies, and the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), the provider of the international FP&A Certification.
To begin with, the FP&A Board discussed the evolving role of FP&A Business Partnering in finance profession. With that in mind, they defined the new role of an FP&A Business Partner as strategic and influential in decision-making, providing insights and driving change. Consequently, the Board described the crucial knowledge and skills one should possess to become an FP&A Business Partner. 

Everyone understands how challenging it is to combine analytical, business partnering and good communication skills in one person. And that is the reason why it is so difficult to find the right FP&A talent. However, one of the ways to overcome this problem is to build effective synergetic FP&A teams.  

Furthermore, our keynote speaker of the event Samipendra Chaudhury, CFO at Nielsen Emerging Markets, shared his substantial experience and insights on FP&A Organisation and Business Partnering. Mr Chaudhury also supported the idea of the recent critical transformation of the role of an FP&A Business Partner and introduced the concept of FP&A DNA to back the idea. Apart from that, he presented the building blocks for FP&A Partnering and an evolutionary Continuum of FP&A.

Afterward, the FP&A Business Partnership Maturity Model, developed by London FP&A Board in summer 2016, was presented. The participants were engaged in group work on reviewing the model and contributing their ideas and approaches in order to make it even more exhaustive and widely applicable. One should mention that the discussion and networking part of the meeting was very productive. The members enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with each other and discuss the latest megatrends and best practices in FP&A, sharpen their roles as FP&A professionals.

The main conclusions from the meeting:

  • The true value of an FP&A professional has shifted away from the “what happened” to “what should happen” and “how to execute change”.
  • This job is both strategic and influential in nature. 
  • An FP&A Business  partner acts as the bridge between the wider business and the board
  • FP&A Business Partner is a mentor and an influencer at the same time: he/she helps to transform planning processes from "emotional" to data driven process.
  • One of the most important roles of FP&A Business Partner  is to challenge the status quo and to help to shape the analytical business culture of the entire organization

The next Dubai FP&A Board will gather on 24th October 2017 to discuss Advanced Analytics for FP&A. We would be happy to welcome new senior FP&A Board Members (FD and CFO level)  to join our global FP&A community.
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