Financial Project Management

Notes from the Field: 5 Success Factors for Cross-Functional Project Management

Finance teams are often looked to for leadership of cross-functional projects. This is often the case because the ultimate project results can be measured by, or affect, financials. A budget or re-forecast process is a clear example of a cross-functional project led by Finance. From our experience in leading cross-functional projects as part of Finance teams, we believe a few factors are key to the success of these projects.

Factor #1: Alignment to Goals

Different functions may have conflicting goals, which can make achieving the overall project difficult. For example, Operations may strive for low inventory, while Sales may prefer to have higher inventory (to address unexpected customer needs). Marketing may prefer flexible and undefined campaign spending (e.g., TV, web, other ads), while Finance may prefer to have defined and controlled spending.

In both examples, a good Finance project management effort will identify common project goals between these competing objectives. Operations teams should be positively inclined to more predictable and stable inventory ordering, which could align with Sales teams’ demand forecasts built by-customer. Marketing teams may be able to secure higher campaign budgets if they develop a more defined budget, which a Finance team will be more likely to sign off on. Looking for such ways to align goals by utilizing a Finance skillset to achieve overall project objectives can be beneficial to the company overall.

Learn more about maintaining traction toward organizational goals in our ebook:

operational review program ebook

Factor #2: Cross-Functional Project Planning

A list of actions that need to be completed by specific functional team owners by a certain date should be developed. A project plan will allow participants to see how their efforts contribute to (or hold up) progress within expected timeframes, especially if other functional teams depend on a preceding milestone to move forward. With these cross-functional considerations, Finance teams can leverage their experience with budget and re-forecast processes. In those cases, Finance often requests that the Sales team deliver a revenue estimate by a certain date, so Marketing and other teams can then develop informed cost forecasts before consolidating a P&L for executive team review.

Want to learn more about planning? Check out our blog post: “Be Prepared: Business Continuity Planning

Factor #3: Dollarize Proposed Actions

One way the Finance team can help move cross-functional projects forward is to utilize its knowledge to dollarize proposed actions. This can persuade teams that are lagging, or not fully grasping the magnitude of their actions, to put them in perspective. This can also help improve the working relationships the Finance team has for other future collaborations.

Factor #4: Finance Leadership Sponsorship

As with any project, sponsorship from leadership is always useful. If project goals ultimately have financial benefits such as improved profitability or stronger cash flow, obtaining sponsorship from the CFO or other finance leaders could be a helpful addition. Finance leaders attending some regular check-in meetings and calls with all teams should keep teams motivated to deliver on their tasks. Finance leaders who make themselves available to resolve any escalated conflicts can be helpful (if applicable) as well.

Factor #5: Cross-Functional Project Experience

If you are looking for help with Finance-led cross-functional project management, or if you are thinking about bringing in financial consultants, then contact 8020 Consulting! We offer outside expertise with industry best practices and would be happy to help you define your needs and offer advice on next steps.

Want to keep up with us? We invite you to sign up as a blog subscriber! After signup, you’ll receive notifications when we post new content. Just click below to jump to the signup page:

Subscribe to Our Blog Today!

About the Author

Marco has 17 years of Finance and Consulting experience. His work spans various industries including technology, entertainment, telecommunications, consumer products, financial services, and healthcare. Marco has expertise in Financial Planning & Analysis (budgeting, forecasting, and reporting), Strategic Planning, project management, financial modeling, merger integration, and valuation. Prior to joining 8020 Consulting, Marco held Finance and Strategy positions at Epson America and also worked for various firms including Deloitte Consulting, Paramount Pictures, Grupo Modelo, Cricket Communications, UBS, and Goldman Sachs. Marco holds a B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University, and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Categorized in: ,

similar articles

Learn to think and approach problems like our financial consultants.

Manufacturing Operations Finance

Time to Clean Out the Warehouse: Improving Inventory Management Processes in 2021

Inventory flows reveal a lot about the health of a company, and 2020 put many stresses on inventory management processes. There were demand shocks, rising transportation costs, supply chain shortages, labor constraints and many other impacting factors. Manufacturers and distributors were suddenly faced with a slew of underperforming SKUs while others were in short supply…. View Article

January 20, 2021Danelle Larsen

Financial Project Management

Notes from the Field: 5 Success Factors for Cross-Functional Project Management

Finance teams are often looked to for leadership of cross-functional projects. This is often the case because the ultimate project results can be measured by, or affect, financials. A budget or re-forecast process is a clear example of a cross-functional project led by Finance. From our experience in leading cross-functional projects as part of Finance… View Article

January 13, 2021Marco Moreno

Treasury and Cash Management

A 2020 Recap: Cash Management & Why Cash is Still King

Last year brought disruptions in almost every industry. We witnessed significant interruptions in order fulfillment and delivery systems, chaotic drops and soaring demand in certain categories, fresh liquidity for borrowers and cash crunches for others. And cash management underwent rapid change for those suddenly with too much or too little. Short-Term Cash Management Led to Underutilized… View Article

January 7, 2021Danelle Larsen

See All