First up is….Trish McFarlane! Franny O. will take over tomorrow and offer her perspective. So it’s time to listen up, because class is in session.
“It is critical that HR professionals have a solid understanding of the financial aspects of running a business.”Trish McFarlane
Key courses would be those that cover budgeting, managing for profitability (billing, write-offs, etc.), and reading and understanding financial statements.
I believe the reading and understanding financial statements piece is critical. By having that skill, HR pros will be someone that line managers and leadership will respect when they give advice.
I find that many people in HR do not have a strong grasp of statistical analysis. By taking a course in applied statistics, it will further their ability to advise leadership on key business initiatives. For example, if you do not have that background, it will be much more difficult to recognize where the issues lie in employee survey data. And, when that happens, the HR pro is not able to advise leadership on actionable items the business can take to improve retention.
In a previous post you talked about establishing a “connection with your CFO and/or Accounting department.” How do you that (they can be pretty intimidating)?
Obviously, the ease of connecting with your CFO will depend on the culture, size of the company, or your level within HR. Let’s first start out a little lower on the Accounting/Finance food chain. Reach out to the person in that department who would be your counterpart. Do you support a specific group, city, or region? Find your counterpart that supports them from the financial side. Do you know them? Great. If not, set up an introductory meeting. Tell them up front that you’d like to learn more about what they do to support that group/city/region. You may want to offer up what your role is in supporting that group. If possible, ask to set up regularly scheduled calls or meetings to touch base.