Build a Winning Business Case your CFO will Approve – Part II

CFO Business Case

By Ernie Humphrey, CTP

In Part 1, we explored how to construct the foundations of your winning business case and the importance of compelling details to win approval from your CFO. Very few, if any, investment proposals win approval without a persuasive delivery of the business case constructed to justify it. A poor project proposal presentation equals rejection. Now, we will explore our next five pillars to address how to effectively communicate your winning business case to your CFO.

6.  Know Your Constituency – The audience you need to convince can represent a significant inherent barrier to your success. Conduct a project stakeholder meeting to present your business case to all parties internally who will contribute, be impacted or need to approve your investment project. You need to know your constituents inside and out. Every group has at least one “NO” person who objects to every project. Engage them up-front. Find out what objections they might have and address or deflect them as you are in the process of building your business case. Address all potential objections first thing when delivering your business case. This tactic will disarm naysayers in your audience right out of the gate.

 7. Present with Confidence & Passion – The numbers need to make sense, but how you present them matters. Being confident and presenting with energy shows that the winning approval for the investment really matters to you in addition to benefiting the company. In theory, it should be all about the numbers, but that is not always the case. Politics matter and you need to make the right impression on your audience. 

8. Clearly define project roles, responsibilities, and establish accountability with each stakeholder at the meeting – Each person needs to understand why they are at your stakeholder meeting and what you expect from them in the scope of the project. Unfortunately, many people do not perform without accountability, so you need to establish a level of personal accountability with each key stakeholder. 

9. Define clearly how all pieces of the project “fit” and the role that each vested party plays in successful project execution – This is critical to earning “buy in” from your CFO for your investment. It shows that you have done your homework and helps you establish accountability with your constituency. 

10. Define & Communicate Success- Stress your project benchmarks of success, how you will communicate them on an ongoing basis, and how you will hold yourself accountable for the ROI of your project.

Now it’s time to get to work! In our next article, we will provide an example of an effective business case for AP automation.

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