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John Varano

Degree:

Masters in Major Programme Management

Location:

Australia

Industry:

Management Consulting

Year:

2016-18

By John Varano

Rethinking financial management: a deconstruct and reconstruct in practice

Coming into my fourth module of Financial Management was unlike any course I have previously undertaken academically. I am convinced that my fellow cohort strongly identified with this perspective.

Meeting and learning from Professor Paolo Quattrone is an experience of renaissance. I was immediately left with the impression that his teaching is the embodiment of his character – the quintessential scholar and charismatic historian. His course is a juxtaposition of financial management, history and lessons in Latin. It made my fellow cohort and I reassess what we thought were “best practices” in the field – a complete deconstruction and then reconstruction of financial management practices in major programme management.

At the beginning of the module, I believed given my professional experience and training in Finance that I had a strong understanding of financial management. However, after the first couple of days of lectures by Professor Quattrone, I was left in an embryonic state of mind. It was a rethink of the roles of accounting and management control in programme management. No longer did I think of financial management in purely objective accounting terms, but commenced to learn and understand how it interacts between reporting, governance, leadership and social innovations. Moreover, our studies of financial management became one which examined the relationships of stakeholders and the interfacing between accounting, rationality and decision making.

Quattrone’s teaching approach to financial management which combined history and lessons into the origin of accounting terms provided the cohort, particularly myself, a new appreciation of management accounting and its visual power and ability to engage actors in the process. The experience for the entire cohort left us with a redesign of how we scrutinise financial information for decision making. It therefore offered us a ‘maieutic machine‘ to bring back into our professional lives to shape and make a difference to management, governance and accounting practices in our organisations.

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