Can you use OKRs for financial business goals?

by Tom | May 31, 2021

time icon 3 mins

When it comes to planning business goals, the OKR method can help you streamline your goal-setting process so that you see real results. This can also come in handy when setting financial goals for a business.

OKRs or Objectives and Key Results is a goal-setting framework that can help drive companies and teams towards their ambitious organisational growth goals. It’s important to stress here that OKRs should always be used for growth, change or innovation projects rather than business as usual activity – this is where a framework like KPIs comes into play. 

OKRs can really help you supercharge your business’ growth by promoting strategic alignment and providing purpose for your teams. The OKR framework is designed to fit the needs of any organisation irrespective of size, and any department or industry. OKRs work in the same way when setting goals throughout many different company levels, and so can be adapted to fit your priorities. 

So, as long as you want to focus on growth, change or innovation financial goals, there’s no reason why OKRs can’t help. 

Crafting financial goals for a business

When it comes to using OKRs for finance teams, it’s important to stick to these key principles when creating your objectives and key results:

  • The objective is clear, is written as though we have achieved it and explains the motivation behind it 
  • There are no ‘whys’ in the key results. Just measures, or steps of progression 
  • Each objective and key result has a lead/ owner

Collaborate with your finance team when setting business goals and objectives

As always we advocate that you make the crafting OKR process a collaborative one. It’s important to get engagement and buy-in from the very start of the process, so we suggest using a brainstorming session with your finance team to start the process. 

This helps to give your team ownership of the goals that are set, and really drives accountability for the key results that are defined. OKRs are all about empowerment, and ultimately you want the crafting process to empower your finance team to create their own OKRs and then bring in other team members from across your organisation to help move the needle on these priorities. This really helps to foster an environment of cross-functional collaboration, ensuring that the best people for each project are working together. Ultimately by creating buy-in and driving accountability you are encouraging informed risk-taking and innovation. This will help push your finance team forward towards the strategic priorities for the organisation. 

Examples of financial OKRs 

Remember your OKRs should be specific to your organisation and reflect the language and tone you use throughout. However, to give you a helping hand we’ve put together a number of examples that might help to get your creative juices flowing. 

 

Example 1 – 

Objective  We have increased the quality of our financial reporting so that we can make more informed decisions about future investments (Mark) 
Key Result 1 Move 80% of books to cloud accounting (Amy)
Key Result 2  Complete 100% of end of month financial reporting by end of the subsequent week (Tim)
Key Result 3  All departments have their financial reports within 2 weeks before the end of the period (Tim) 

 

Example 2 – 

Objective  We have successfully passed our external financial audit so that we can gain credence for our financial practices (Tom) 
Key Result 1  Reduce the number of audit findings from 15 to <3 (Amy) 
Key Result 2 Reduce time taken for audit from 4 weeks to 3 weeks (Jane) 
Key Result 3 Log 100% of supplier and client contracts in the correct secure folder (Jane) 

From this, it’s clear to see that the OKR method is a great framework to use for setting financial business goals and objectives. It can help to provide your company with greater visibility and focus on your financial goals. It can also encourage cross-departmental collaboration.

If you’re considering rolling out financial OKRs and would like a supportive shoulder to help you along the way, get in touch with our Giants by booking a call here. Or, if you’d prefer you can email the team on [email protected] and we’ll come back to you as soon as possible.