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Identifying the characteristics of a high-performance finance function

André de Waal (HPO Center, Hilversum, The Netherlands) (Finance Function Research & Development Center, Vleuten, The Netherlands)
Eelco Bilstra (Finance Function Research & Development Center, Vleuten, The Netherlands)
Peter De Roeck (Fianncial Media, Aalter, Belgium)

Journal of Advances in Management Research

ISSN: 0972-7981

Article publication date: 4 January 2019

Issue publication date: 11 July 2019




The concept of the high-performance organization (HPO) receives much attention nowadays. To create and sustain an HPO, all parts of the organization must contribute, especially the finance function, whose relations with every part of the organization mean that it can be regarded as the spider in the organizational web. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


This study develops the high-performance finance function (HPFF) framework based on the HPO framework, a scientifically developed and validated approach to transforming organizations into HPOs. Based on an extensive literature review, potential characteristics of an HPFF were identified and subsequently linked to factors in the HPO framework. Subsequently, using a questionnaire and statistical analysis, these potential characteristics were clustered into five HPFF factors that showed a significant positive relation with the finance function’s performance.


The five HPFF factors are: Finance Function Improvement, IT Focus, People Development (of financial professionals working in the function), Role Clarity (for each of the various types of role in the function) and Strategic Role (of the finance function in the organization, especially in supporting management).


The HPFF framework is a practical improvement framework based on a solid scientific foundation. It also fills the current gap in the academic literature on how to develop HPFFs, thus giving the frameworks described in practitioner literature a robust scientific grounding.



de Waal, A., Bilstra, E. and De Roeck, P. (2019), "Identifying the characteristics of a high-performance finance function", Journal of Advances in Management Research, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 352-377.



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