The Strategic Business Partner competency covers five key skills: Influence Strategies, Support Decision-making, Become a Critical Voice, Manage Stakeholders, and Be the Co-pilot to Your CEO.

Business strategy concept.

Influence Strategies

CFOs have a unique financial perspective, the best working knowledge of the performance data and a strong overview of the bigger picture. You have huge amounts to contribute to strategic conversations and it is essential that your voice is properly heard early in the strategic planning process.

Support Decision-making

CFOs are in a fantastic position to support decision-making at all levels across your company, both at the strategic level and within the day-to-day implementation of the business plan. This requires you to contribute new ideas, influence opinions and back up your views with relevant data. You need to manage conflict during heated debates, read situations carefully and know when to compromise.

Become a Critical Voice

Becoming a critical voice in your company requires you to establish yourself at board level and influence other people. Being a vital board member is not about being the most knowledgeable person in the room, it’s about being able to provide critical oversight and guidance to an organization throughout its journey.

Manage Stakeholders

Finance leaders need to manage many different types of stakeholders, each with their own interests and agendas. It is essential to identify and understand these different groups to engage with them effectively. To develop a strong reputation, you need to provide a great service to your stakeholders, obtain positive feedback from them, and leverage from their knowledge, expertise and wider networks.

Be the Co-pilot to Your CEO

Today’s CFO acts as the co-pilot to your CEO throughout your company’s journey. As a critical business leader, the CFO enables the vision and has become the go-to person for all key queries. By keeping people informed of key business matters, you provide the link between the business activities and your financial performance.

Each of these requirements are essential components of your CFO role and must be implemented effectively.

Strategic Business Partner Criteria

Assess your competency across the five Strategic Business Partner skills with the Ratings Guide below.

Skill1. Basic Level2. Intermediate3. Advanced
Influence strategies
Deliver data-driven insights, generate new ideas and influence the business plan.
Delivers data-driven insights to help the formation of strategies. Occasionally participates in strategic conversations with the key management team.Supports senior individuals to assess strategic options, influence team objectives and determine ways to create value across the business.Regularly presents at board meetings and has a robust understanding of the opportunities and threats within their market sector. Plays a key role in the formation of new strategies by identifying ideas and scrutinising potential options.
Support decision-making
Support their teams, facilitate problem-solving, provide a financial perspective, create collaboration and drive decision-making.
Provides relevant data to support others in their decision-making and is sometimes asked to provide input into a decision.Works closely with all business teams to provide a unique financial perspective into decisions. Demonstrates a strong knowledge of performance data and confidently presents well-constructed opinions that are highly-valued by others.Plays a key role in all decision-making across the business and is the first person that people consult when they need help with solving problems or dealing with challenging circumstances.
Become a critical voice
Challenge the management team and Board, and become an influential voice across the wider firm.
Speaks up when required to challenge other people's views. Contributes important input into key discussions and provides a unique financial perspective given their robust knowledge of performance data.Carries a strong voice during conversations with senior people and is capable of making themselves properly heard across the business. Strong at influencing others and constructing well-composed arguments to challenge people's views.Is seen as the most critical voice in the boardroom and has the full respect of all other board members. Is typically the first person that others turn to when making decisions or requiring help. Influences others with well-constructed views and is confident at challenging senior people when required without damaging relationships.
Manage stakeholders
Be the main point of contact to internal and external stakeholders, provide regular updates and generate confidence in the business.
Takes responsibility for managing various internal and external stakeholders by providing them with regular updates and key information.Owns a number of stakeholder relationships and communicates effectively with them on a regular basis. Builds strong relationships with each stakeholder and is well-respected throughout.Leads relationships with most key stakeholders and acts as a business representative. Generates trust and confidence in the company's ability to deliver its business plan. Presents the business story and obtains people's buy-in, regardless of current performance levels.
Be the co-pilot to your CEO
Work closely with the CEO to communicate and deliver the business plan across the organisation.
Works closely with most of the management team and understands the strategic objectives of each division. Provides ad hoc support to help individual teams to identify and execute initiatives.Plays an active role in identifying shortfalls, supporting decision-making and mitigating the impact of any negative scenarios. Keep people well-informed and manages expectations throughout.Presents the firm's strategy alongside the CEO and is seen as the main person responsible for delivering the business plan. Takes full accountability for communicating performance updates and generating the required results.

Assess and Develop Your CFO Competencies

Explore the rest of The GrowCFO Competency Framework and take advantage of the following resources to assess and develop your strengths and skills gaps.

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