Over a number of years, Synergy has assisted several government organisations to develop funding requests in the form of first and second pass business cases and New Policy Proposals (NPP’s). Having been engaged to support agencies through this process, I have observed what differentiates a good accountant from a great CFO and what are the key principles and processes that makes a funding submission successful.
As the financial steward of an organisation, a great CFO doesn’t simply manage a budget and control costs, a great CFO elevates themselves to not only having a seat at the table but a strategic voice at the table to the CEO/Secretary and the SES. A great CFO becomes integral to advising on investment decisions to enable better decision making to drive the organisations strategic direction. A CFO has an important role to play in providing this advice as they are in the best position to critically consider and evaluate the costs, savings and quantitative / qualitative benefits detailed in the funding submission.
A great CFO is also exceptional at supporting/developing funding requests and shepherding through the central agency environment to gain approval. This is exemplified in the budget process context where you are required to navigate a complex environment, business and political environment to gain funding approval. A great CFO assists with funding requests to ensure they are positioned appropriately for due consideration. Some key lessons I have learnt to ensure funding submissions are given appropriate consideration in the government context are:
- Clear and concise messaging
- Alignment of the business problem, solution and links to policy objectives and organisational strategy
- Early and regular stakeholder engagement, especially with central agencies
- Appropriate consideration of risks and implementation
- Clearly identified and articulated benefits
- Balanced and measurable benefits (Qualitative and Quantitative)
- Clear understanding of costs and quantifiable savings
Starting on 2 May, Synergy will be running a Strategic CFO Program, aimed at helping aspiring CFOs to move beyond technical skills and become a true strategic partner. During the program, I will be presenting on funding principles, business case development, and NPP development and process to help develop, manage and influence successful funding submissions. Please head over to the sign-up page if you’re interested!
Find more details on the Strategic CFO Program here.