People and pounds, policies and spreadsheets, police and banks are just some of the ways those outside the HR and Finance professions have viewed these two crucial functions. Whilst these functions have evolved considerably over the past 20 years, their importance remains just as vital.
Too often HR and Finance functions work in silos and at times against each other which proves to be detrimental to the organisation and its people who are just wanting to get on with the work they have to do.
The crossovers between the two are endless. Everything that has a people aspect has a financial impact. Workforce Planning requires a reassurance that it is financially viable, Payroll and pensions implementation needs a thorough process review as to how it will be effectively implemented and the numerous other interactions which are not planned, come up last minute or there is a constant need for assurance that the money is there. All this point to the need for HR and Finance to be closely linked and working as ‘best friends’.
Whilst there will be challenges, both need to be better at supporting, helping and going the extra mile for each other. HR needs to be more proactive in understanding the pressures of Finance when it comes to budget setting, management accounts, internal/external audits. Likewise, Finance needs to understand the pressures from the organisation on the HR function across the employment life cycle which will require support from Finance.
Not only Finance and HR, but arguably relationships with other support functions such as IT, Health and Safety and Facilities is also needed. There will be differences of opinions, challenges, internal conflict amongst many other things, but whichever organisation you are in, strengthening this relationship will only help organisational efficiency, and have further benefits for each function individually.
Depending on the size, complexity and nature of your organisation, these functions will vary in their approach, ways of working, and importance to the organisation if they hold a seat at the top table. Regardless of this, these two functions should work closely from an administrative to strategic level to ensure synergies are created, ways of working are agreed to eliminate bureaucracy and they are seen as enablers to the organisation and to each other.
A business partnering approach is one that can reap benefits and currently seems more common in HR than in Finance. Being business partners in their respective functions, will require them to both understand the business, build relationships with stakeholders and enable managers to carry out their roles. Naturally, this will intertwine their work even if there was a reluctance to do so. Recruiting the right people to these roles will ensure you have individuals who can work together, resolve challenges constructively and enhance the impact each of them makes through working as business partners. However, as a start just have a look at how Finance and HR are working together in your organisation and come to your own judgement as to whether it needs to improve.
I have 10 years plus experience of HR in international development, faith-based organisations, housing and now healthcare. Experience in all aspects of HR including employee relations, diversity and inclusion, recruitment, training and organisational development.
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