HR and number crunchers reach best-ever level of understanding

HR and finance managers now have a better understanding of their working relationship than ever before, according to the world’s largest accountancy body.

Tony Osude, head of learning and development at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), said that the collaboration between finance and HR had shown a vast improvement in the past two years.

“Finance managers are now showing a better understanding of the HR role and, where the two collaborate, it is shown to be best practice.” Osude also said human capital management issues, such as managing recruitment and retention, were no longer the sole domain of HR.

“There is an increasing recognition that, as a manager, you should be able to deal with issues such as hiring staff and managing turnover,” he added.

This shows a step-change in the relationship between HR and finance managers, who are different breeds of people with different skills. In many cases, a lack of appreciation of each other’s roles has created tension.

The ACCA’s 2005 survey revealed a disconnection between those who set learning and development policies, those who determined the budget, and those responsible for communicating the policies.

Osude said: “Finance managers were shown to set the agenda and had control of the budget, while HR communicated it. This system often led to a total breakdown in communication.”

The ACCA’s views were supported by Laura Hinton, partner at professional services firm Pricewater-houseCoopers.

“The partnership between finance and HR has made some progress. However, there is still a long way to go,” she said. HR departments were still not providing robust return-on-investment figures for training, she added.

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