The role of finance in operations: Beyond numbers

Musharraf Dilmahamood, Group Finance Director at CSI Energy Group, shares insights on how finance teams align data with operations, navigate market challenges, and work collaboratively to empower organizations to thrive.

While finance traditionally focused on budgeting, forecasting, and financing reporting, in today’s dynamic business landscape, its role has evolved – it goes far beyond numbers. It has transformed into a strategic partner in driving operational efficiency, business growth, and overall success. This transformation helps energy organizations navigate today's challenges while setting the stage for a sustainable and resilient future.


The finance function of any organisation is crucial. The basic role of finance in operations is to optimise resource allocation through planning, execution, control, and maintenance of any organisation’s financial resources. Broadly, finance is responsible for cost management, essential for ensuring operations remain profitable and sustainable in the long term. The finance team works closely with other departments in the organisation to develop cost-effective strategies, negotiate contracts, and identify opportunities for savings.


However, beyond the classical narrative swirling around numbers, finance now unfolds the story of a company’s journey, challenges, and triumphs. When the finance and operations teams work in silos, it results in significant and progressive impacts for the company. The results are extensive: the organisation gets real-time, accurate, and comprehensive data to fuel strategic decisions – which can further generate vital insights and precise forecasts, taking the two teams to a whole new level.


In the current era, the duties of the finance department are more than conclusive. The finance department guides all the internal and external financial decisions of a company – providing the latter with a competitive edge on the market. The role of finance within the energy sector has evolved over the past years where finance needs to help organisations navigate the transition towards a more sustainable, resilient and efficient energy system. We realise that have to have to keep up to date with new financing mechanisms, managing risks effectively where organisations can unlock new opportunities for growth.  We sat down with Musharraf Dilmahamood, Group Finance Director of CSI Energy Group, and he portrayed a new face of the finance role.

Financial planning & analysis to facilitate strategic planning

Fundamental to making realistic forecasts, financial planning and analysis enables companies to anticipate their financial performance in the coming days. This process involves comparing and evaluating projected outcomes with actual results to identify areas for improvement. It also empowers the business to remain adaptable and geared to face challenges. In organizations where finance and operations teams work collaboratively, the results are profound: real-time data informs strategic decisions, generating vital insights and precise forecasts. Finance guides companies by aligning financial data with their operations and decision-making processes adds Musharraf.

Managing risks to avoid unpleasant surprises

The data provided by the finance team empowers an organisation to be in a better position to mitigate risks. The finance department tries to identify and evaluate the risks threating a business by looking at factors such as interest rates, legal nuances, and others to forecast measurable impact. “For example, energy markets are notoriously volatile due to fluctuating oil prices, geopolitical factors, and evolving regulations within different jurisdictions. Here, finance acts as an early warning system, analyzing trends and developments to guide strategic decisions. Whether securing favorable procurement rates or mitigating forex risks, finance teams help organizations maintain profitability amid unpredictable conditions. It is important to work closely with the different departments such that we can mitigate some of these risks and set controls to safeguard the organisation’s financial resources and reputation.” he comments.

Managing and budgeting capital for optimum Return On Investment (ROI)

Finance plays a vital role in supporting liquidity by managing cash flow, optimizing working capital, and accessing external financing when needed. They identify the most promising projects through rigorous financial modeling, align investments with corporate goals, and dynamically allocate resources to meet shifting priorities. By diversifying the portfolio across markets and technologies, they minimize risk while maintaining a mix of short-term and long-term projects. Leveraging scenario analysis and forecasting, they anticipate market disruptions and adapt investment strategies accordingly. Additionally, they consider broader value-driven criteria like sustainability and stakeholder trust, ensuring each investment not only yields financial returns but also aligns with long-term strategic benefits and builds the organization's reputation. Finance also integrates ESG considerations into decision making processes and facilitating investments in sustainable projects.

So, how do we bridge finance and operations for better business?

To achieve this synergy is more than a matter of shared knowledge and datasets. The process begins with a cultural change where everyone works mutually towards a common business objective. This does not imply that every department should be able to master the nuances of accounting or vice versa, but to understand the impact of financial data on their operations and decision-making processes. That’s where the responsibilities of finance and operations overlap for better results. However, while this may sound “simple”, it involves collaborative efforts and more communication between teams.


Over the years, finance has become an ideal “business partner” to most organisations. The challenges are real, but so are the opportunities. At CSI Energy Group (CEG), we are totally aware that financial health and operational efficiency are interwoven. This is one of the main reasons why our approach and mindset fosters collaboration and transparency. Communication is key, ongoing education and learning are essential, and the use of specific tools and technologies that enable seamless data integration and analysis.


As finance professionals, we must embrace a consultative role and be able to guide non-finance teams on the financial implications of their actions and decisions. Similarly, other departments across CEG are encouraged to share their operational insights for effective analyses and recommendations”, says Musharraf.