It is vital that the NHS finance function is fit for the future. Driving and Designing Finance to Adapt to System Change will be essential in identifying challenging objectives for delivery from 2020 with work starting to shape this theme in 2018.

The way the NHS delivers services is changing. Organisations are increasingly working in partnership with others to improve the quality of services provided to patients. This partnership working is across NHS organisations, local authorities, charities and others, recognising that there are wide influences impacting on the health of the population – it is not solely the result of NHS interventions. Working collaboratively with other organisations can prove challenging to finance professionals. NHS finance staff will have to become even better at adapting to new cultures and developing an understanding of the statutory requirements of partner organisations, which may differ from their own. In this new environment technical skills will be taken as a given, and skills such as the ability to influence, communicate effectively, lead change and build productive relationships will be important.
 
The improvements in efficiency that technology can bring have yet to not been fully exploited and future developments need to be embraced. There will be a move away from transaction finance – which will largely be automated – to strategic finance. The challenge for the finance function is to find a way to integrate management reporting across that wider economy so that the full impact of changes and actions are understood. In the future finance staff will be expected to be able to combine traditional management information with financial information to produce business intelligence that will support effective decision-making. This requires a much more analytical and strategic set of skills than may have been needed in the past.
 
To help support changes in the way the finance function operates, FFF will carry out a programme of activities aimed at creating an NHS finance function fit for the future. If you would like to be involved in shaping any of this work please get in touch with us on futurefocusedfinance@nhs.net