Skilling up to be a 21st Century finance business partner (5 days)

Course code: 0071


Do you want to get out of the back office and advise your business team? But how do you become that trusted finance business partner? We look at the many roles of the finance business partner and give you hands on skills to move beyond simply reporting the numbers.

This 5-day course comprises an introductory day followed by 4 full-day interactive workshops designed to give you practical skills in business strategy and planning, scorecards and dashboard reports, zero based budgeting, forecasting, and cost management. You can implement these directly in your own organisation by running similar workshops with your own business teams. The workshops allow you the opportunity to try out techniques in a safe environment so that you can adapt and use them for the specific circumstances in your own organisation.

The event includes a one-day rapid development of a business strategy and business plan. This is Followed by a one-day rapid development of a scorecard or dashboard to report against the business plan. This gives a practical end to end methodology to go from setting strategic objectives to designing a working scorecard with practical measures you can use to keep the business on track.

We consider how to move beyond budgets to provide an agile financial management system that is focussed on delivering the business strategy. When it comes to cost management no one tool is ever right for all circumstances so we look at a variety of tools to you can use to maintain a financially efficient and effective organisation, and a guide to when it is most appropriate to use each one. We also look at what happens when a business has a challenge to make a step change in its cost base and give a range of ways the finance business partner can help his team to take cost out of the organisation.

At the end of this seminar participants you will:

  • Have practical methods you can take back to your business
  • Be equipped to run workshops with your business to develop business plans; design strategic reporting; develop Zero based budgets; and to develop rolling forecasts
  • Have learned to use a variety of tools that will allow you to use with your business team throughout the business planning cycle.
  • Have a good working knowledge of the tools and techniques to take cost out of your organisation and when best to use them.


  • Day 1 – The 21st Century Business Partner
    • The many roles of the 21st century business partner
    • Why traditional accounts and budgets aren’t helpful
    • Understanding the economics of the business
    • The 7 levers of business growth
    • The importance of a clear business strategy
    • Culture is so important
    • Providing the right information to the business team
    • Supporting the investment decision
    • Being efficient and effective in an ever-changing world
  • Day 2 – Building business plans for the 21st Century
    • SWOT Analysis
    • PESTLE Analysis
    • Other strategy tools
    • VMOST Model
    • Financial analysis to support strategy
    • Moving from strategy to business plan
    • Communicating the business plan
  • Day 3 – Keeping the business on track to achieve the plan
    • Introduction to the scorecard
    • Principles of effective measurement
    • Cause and effect modelling
    • Developing a long list of business drivers
    • Identifying a short list of drivers that are most important to delivering the strategy
    • Turning business drivers into practical measures
    • Setting targets
    • Visualising performance
    • Developing the performance management framework
  • Day 4 – Effective Budgeting
    • Why traditional budgeting doesn’t work
    • How to build a Zero-Based Budget
    • ZBB and ABC working together
      • Understanding the true cost of products and services.
      • 80% of profit comes from 20% of customers …and what to do about it.
    • Beyond budgeting…using rolling forecasts instead
  • Day 5 – Taking Cost Out of the Organisation
    • Project justification
    • The danger of recurring costs
    • Sharing services
    • Running a cost reduction exercise
    • Managing cost through continuous improvement
      • Lean
      • 6 Sigma

Teaching method

  • Group live instruction and illustrative examples
  • Practical workshop exercises using the tools and techniques we teach to build targets and reduce cost in a fictitious business that faces many of the issues you will encounter in the real world.
  • All participants will receive a comprehensive binder containing copies of the presentation slides, handouts and other course materials


A grounding in financial management information will be useful on this course.

Course benefits

  • To understand the role of the finance business partner in the business team
  • To understand the wide variety of skills that are needed to become a trusted business advisor
  • To understand the problems and limitations of traditional accounting information, financial reporting and budget management
  • To understand your role in setting strategy, and how strategy underpins just about everything you do.
  • To understand how to work with your management team to develop better financial targets to measure performance
  • To understand the different tools and techniques available to you to control and remove cost from your organisation
  • To understand the practical tools and techniques that are available to help you, and to get practical hands on experience of using them in a safe environment

Who should attend?

The course is aimed at the business finance manager. You are likely to:

  • Have responsibility for developing plans and budgets and reporting business results to your management team
  • Provide financial advice and decision support to the business team

CPE / CPD Accreditation


IASeminars is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: 

Field of study: Accounting

ICAEW Partner in Learning

IASeminars is proud to have been named as an ICAEW Partner in Learning, working together to offer the ICAEW IFRS Certificate to our clients worldwide. ICAEW (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 145,000 chartered accountants worldwide. CPE certificates obtained from attending IASeminars courses are an ideal way for ICAEW members and others to demonstrate their continuing professional development, provided that the topic is relevant to their learning and development needs.

Texas State Board of Public Accountancy

IASeminars is registered with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy as a CPE sponsor. Our CPE Sponsor ID is: 009689. This registration does not constitute an endorsement by the Board as to the quality of our CPE Program.


  • Our London seminars take place in 4 star professional conference facilities, generally in city-centre hotels like the Radisson (Vanderbilt), Marriott, Sheraton or Hilton brands. Detailed Joining Instructions are sent to all registered delegates by email approximately one month before the event. The Joining Instructions will confirm exact venue details and nearby (or onsite) hotel recommendations with bedroom rates where available. Coffee and lunch will be provided.


  • Kevin Appleby

    Kevin Appleby (United Kingdom) is a highly experienced consultant, coach and trainer with a strong track record in client delivery. He is a Chartered Accountant and brings with him a highly analytical approach. His key strength is in creating and maintaining strong relationships with clients that are based on trust and high quality delivery.

    He has acted as programme director on engagements across both the public and private sectors and specializes in the topics of planning and budgeting, cost reduction, and KPI / Balanced Scorecard reporting.

    Kevin is co-host of leading UK business podcast “The Next 100 Days”.

In House

To bring this course in-house please contact us and we will be pleased to assist

Course details

Course schedule

Select a start date for more details

14 Oct 2019 London

Course level:
40 hours
Start date:
14 Oct 2019
Start time:
Finish date:
18 Oct 2019
Finish time:
GBP 4,200
Subject to UK VAT (Read more)
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