During the 1990s, the pendulum between the extremes of being a financial policeman on the one hand and a business partner on the other had swung to one extreme. In the years since, it has swung to the other extreme.
Ultimately, it will settle somewhere in the middle.
During the bull run of the 1990s many companies –along with their finance teams- began to ignore governance issues as they became swept up in the euphoria of growth, deal-making, and soaring stock prices. The period since, has been a welcome time of “deferred maintenance” of internal controls and risk management.
The slew of corporate governance regulations that followed on the heels of scandals at WorldCom, Enron, Parmalat, and others has forced many companies to devote considerable time and energy to beefing up internal controls. That burden has naturally fallen on finance staff.
Sox rules make it harder for large companies to act quickly and entrepreneurially because every process must be followed to the letter in every instance
Integrating Finance with some other areas such as sales operations, facilities management, legal team and human resources, ensures that the finance staff are able to play a much more strategic role than in the past
Through intregration there is a lot of knowledge-sharing. Everyone gets a better understanding of the business and how different strategies feed through into financial performance.