HR vs Finance: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

HR vs Finance: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Redsox vs Yankees, Microsoft vs Apple, Dunkin Donuts vs Starbucks – all of these rivalries have long, colorful histories behind them. However, rivalries are not confined to sports teams or corporate competitors. A grueling and long-fought rivalry takes place everyday at your organization; HR vs Finance.

HR is mainly viewed as a department that deals with the people at an organization, while Finance is seen as dealing with the money of the organization. In other words, HR represents a qualitative mindset, while Finance represents the quantitative. In this sense, HR and Finance have been separated and pitted against each other based on HR’s perceived objective to serve the people vs. finances’ money aspect of the business. However, many organizations continue to neglect how interrelated these two functions are and how critical it is that they work together.

When HR and Finance work together, they can help identify and analyze organizational trends and strategies to drive positive, measurable outcomes. Below are three strategies for bridging the gap between HR and Finance at your organization:

Share Systems to Streamline Communication

With so many interrelated responsibilities, it is only common sense that the data gathered by Finance is necessary for HR to make the best decisions, and vice versa. However, many HR and Finance departments operate using different systems. In fact, the average organization uses 3-4 separate systems to manage core HR and finance processes. These disparate systems often “speak different languages” and make it hard to share data between the two departments, increasing the gap between HR and Finance. When using disparate systems, everyone is working separately off of different information. Each department only sees a fraction of what’s going on at the organization, and no one can make well-informed decisions. Implementing a unified system is vital to create a single source of truth for your organization and increase organizational visibility.

Remove Functional Silos

Finance and HR are becoming increasing interrelated. HR is taking on more in terms of talent management, employee retention, credentialing, payroll, and compliance with new regulations, while the role of Finance is also constantly evolving. According to Robert Half, CFOs have reported a 21% increase in time spent in HR to assist with compliance, compensation, benefits plans, and recruiting. With this increasing overlap in responsibilities, it is crucial for HR and Finance to eliminate their silos and begin to form a culture of collaboration in order to increase productivity holistically. 

Identify and Form Cross-Departmental Teams

Forming collaborations between HR and Finance is easier said than done. The deep-rooted rivalry and perceived conflicts of interest may make it difficult for everyone to get on the same page. The best way to get the ball rolling is to identify specific objectives, and form a project team made up of key Finance and HR personnel that can complement and amplify each others strengths. One objective to tackle first is recruiting. Katherine Jones, VP of HCM Technology Research at Bersin by Deloitte at Deloitte, states that, “the business imperative for the link between Finance and HR comes down to making intelligent hiring decisions based on intelligent economic decisions.” This initiative, along with others like it, can bring to light numerous advantages of a better relationship between HR and Finance, leading to a sustainable structure of cohesiveness.

At the end of the day, no organization is as good as the sum of its departments. Both HR and Finance are critical cogs that power a much larger machine. When HR and Finance learn to work together, your organization will be able to view cross-departmental data in new ways, create more collaborative culture, and increase efficiency and productivity.

This DATIS Blog was written by MJ Craig, DATIS, on May 4th, 2016 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Written by MJ Craig