The changing role of the finance function

25 October 2016

Trusts are faced with every increasing financial challenges and consequent demands being placed on their finance departments with pressures emanating both internally and externally. Delivering the traditional transactional processing service alone is no longer sufficient, but transformational improvement to deliver faster, more insightful management information and decision support while simultaneously reducing costs in line with the national drive to reduce back office function costs has been a struggle. To achieve this objective, efficiency and effectiveness improvements must succeed together.

Approach to transformational improvement

The starting point of transformation improvement commences with a review and assessment of current practices. Achieving this is accomplished by:

  1. Conducting a time activity analysis of finance resources.
  2. Surveying internal stakeholders, capturing their view on both the ‘as-is’ state and the desired ‘to-be’ state of services delivered by finance.
  3. Facilitating process workshops to fully understand the ‘as-is’ state pain points that exist in the current finance operating model. A review of a finance operating model covers the below six specific areas:
  • people;
  • technology enablement;
  • organisation;
  • financial close, consolidation and reporting;
  • transactional processes; and
  • compliance.

Key considerations – nine questions to ask yourself 

  1. Is the cost of the finance function greater than one per cent of trust turnover?
  2. Does transactional processing account for more than 30 per cent of resource time?
  3. Is the IT landscape fragmented, comprising multiple and out of date non-integrated IT systems?
  4. Is there heavy reliance on spreadsheets and manual data manipulation?
  5. Is there a proliferation of paper based documentation and physical approvals?
  6. Are there variations in the ways of working, driving non standardised processes between departments and within teams? 
  7. Is management information not available until more than eight to 10 days after month end? 
  8. Is management information insightful and forward looking, providing clear signposting of decision making actions?
  9. Is management information appropriately detailed and flexible to meet user needs both internally and externally?

Find out how RSM helped King College Hospital overcome their financial challenges, by downloading the full report.