HR and Finance: A Vital Relationship

There is nothing funnier than watching my financial friends search high and low for the last few cents to ensure their books balance to the penny. Get me in the ball park and I am more than happy to call it a day. I laugh, but I do so with the utmost respect.

My route to Human Resources (HR) was not typical. I came to HR with a biology degree and 10 years military service as an Army Officer. I did not have any monthly financial reports to read, salary budgets to set or benefit costs to calculate. I could plan the logistical support for a military convoy moving across Germany but did not have experience valuing or presenting human resource program proposals.

Many of my skills from the military transferred easily to the private sector. Terminology, culture, and ways of doing business did not. I was a one-person Human Resource department learning business jargon, making sense out of a new culture and building upon the credibility I brought by learning absolutely everything I could about how a for-profit business operated.

I quickly realized that I needed to understand how the other half lived. I knew what a 3% salary increase would cost and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) identified where the money would come from. I knew how to design a competitive benefits package and the CFO knew the ins and outs of the local benefits business. I knew what needed to be done and the CFO was a sounding board, ally, and resource in helping me to get things done.

I reported to the CFO and to say I learned a lot from him, simply would not capture the value of the relationship. I am very fortunate to continue to have positive relationships with the financial leaders I work with.

Human Resources and Finance are two very different departments; each brings a unique, yet equally valuable, view of the organization. Unfortunately, collaboration between Human Resources and Finance is not the norm. In many cases, the working relationship between Human Resources and Finance is neutral at best and that is unfortunate for Human Resources, Finance and the entire organization.

The relationship between Human Resources and Finance is a vital business relationship and one well worth the effort.