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Unilever's finance team played a key role in the success of their brands. The company achieved its fourth consecutive year of accelerating organic sales growth from less than 0.5% in 2004 to more than 7% in 2008, according to Jim Lawrence, Unilever's CFO. Its strategy is to focus on volume growth and strengthening the competitive position of the company's brands. In this article, the authors examine how the finance function at Unilever was redesigned to deliver the firm's strategic goals, including an emphasis on volume growth and competitive position of its brands. Beginning in 2005, the finance team at Unilever asked on how the finance function should operate to achieve their goals. The result was the creation of a five-step process dubbed "Finance of the Future." The steps are: 1. Define "Finance of the Future." 2. Develop strategic thrusts. 3. Create global Finance Excellence Center. 4. Develop innovative business partners. 5. Organize for success: The New Finance Structure.


Originally published:

Tarasovich, Barbara and Bridget Lyons. "Finance Flies High: How Unilever Redesigned the Finance Function to Build Brand Value and Drive Growth." Strategic Finance 91.4 (2009): 25-29.



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