Questions and Answers
Is there a special role in Strategic Planning for the finance department?
The value of a participative process comes from assembling a team of managers who bring varying experience and perspective to the table. No one function or perspective should dominate and all should try to get outside their functional boxes when thinking about and discussing key strategic aspects of the businesses situation. To that extent, finance would not have a particularly unique role. Beyond these general guidelines for participation, finance people can play a key role at several stages of the analytical process based on the typical skills found resident in that function. Insight into market, product or customer profitability is often a key factor in strategic decision-making and finance people can provide valuable input. They can also take the lead in identifying and educating the team on the subtleties in the company's balance sheet and income statement. Finally they should play a prominent role in interpreting and extrapolating the company's strategies into a long-range financial scenario that will help determine if the plan will take the company where management wants it to go.
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