What is Financial Management?

November 23, 2009

Financial Management (FM) is one of those terms that is so much a part of the common lexicon  of management speak, that the scope and extent of its meaning is overlooked on the misguided assumption that there is a common understanding.  Nothing could be further from the truth as there are probably as many definitions of FM as there are people who use the term.   However, as a practicable consulting aid, Blue-Plate uses the metaphor of a Financial Management pyramid to illustrate one view of the scope of FM, building up from a sold foundation of processes and systems through to planning, forecasting and managing the business activities.   The hygiene factors of  basic record keeping, regulatory and finance function activities are like plumbing,  only appreciated when things go wrong.  What most businesses  increasingly demand are added value timely and accurate performance management information on which to base future plans and to consider options regarding strategic decisions for the effective use of resources.  FM is far too important to be left to the accountants and must be considered in the context of a set of  competences which are completely integrated into an organization’s business processes, systems, structures and human resource strategies.  Like a pyramid, getting to the FM pinnacle can be an exhausting climb!

Jeff Herman