How can HR and finance work more effectively together?

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The CHRO and CFO care for two of the most important roles in a company.

Consequently, it’s paramount that they have a good relationship and work closely together, according to Lena Shishkina, head of finance, EMEA and APJ at Workday.

“Changing workforce demographics and challenging business environments is making cross-functional collaboration, between finance and HR more important than ever,” Shishkina told HRD.

“In the past, finance and HR would have systems that didn’t talk to each other, they were completely separate, but now that information is needed more timely these systems need to be accessible and need to be able to provide information to the business more quickly.”

Shishkina added that when CHROs and CFOs work together, they can achieve lower costs, streamlined operations, increased productivity, and major leadership improvements.

So what can HR do to work more effectively with finance?

Shishkina said it’s important for HR people to make an effort to understand the finance side of their companies, its accounting methods and investment and risk strategies.

Similarly, the CFO needs to better understand HR and recognise the importance of the human capital management functions that the CHRO provides.

“CFOs and CHROs looking to increase their collaboration should spend time meeting and strategising together to discuss and address the challenges they face from different viewpoints,” added Shishkina.

“Have a cup of tea together, get to know each other and listen to what each other needs.”

She added that HR people would benefit by asking questions like; What are the accounting methods? Where does the most revenue come from; what risk strategies are in place.

“It’s important to learn the finance language – understand costs, benefits and ROI.”

“Training can be an area where you really start to collaborate, working together to decide where the training is needed and what budget is to be allocated to it.

“The link between financial numbers and the people who provide the productivity to reach those numbers should be inseparable. CHROs need to understand finance, and CFOs need to be more people-centric.”

Shishkina offers the following tips for better collaboration:

  • The human aspect is very important, you need to work on building relationships, informally, over a coffee.
  • Look for a common language and understand each other.
  • The expectation from the business is to become better business partners, so it’s essential to team up to deliver on strategy and this will lead to more successful careers.

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