What drives value?

Professional communications can help tell the story that numbers alone cannot


The world of finance is focused heavily on results and numbers. But numbers alone aren’t enough: professional communications can help tell the full story. Based on observations made during his global career, one chief financial officer calls for closer ties between finance and business communication professionals. 

One of the great learnings in my career as chief financial officer has been about the value that professional business communicators can add to an organisation’s efforts to create value and deliver its financial targets.

I have to admit a strong inclination to believe in the importance of communication, and indeed of people, in driving organisational value. I actually had an early career interest in human resources before accepting the advice of a mentor to move into finance, and came to recognise that these two vital functions of the enterprise have become unnecessarily disconnected. Communication is often the bridge that connects the people side and the financial side, putting these activities into a more coherent context. 

The world of finance in business is focused heavily on results and numbers. Cash flows, profits, losses, costs and valuations all add up to lots of digits on spreadsheets and screens. With such a quantitative tone to what business does, it’s easy to lose sight of what drives the numbers and how we can use all of the assets, especially our employees’ talents to help move them in the right direction. 

I see the communication professionals I work with as playing crucial roles in three different ways: