actionable insights

How to Deliver Financial Insights You Can Act On

In today’s world, time seems to be in short supply when needed most—particularly for the finance department at month’s end. With many days heavily devoted to collecting, consolidating, and reporting on data, you may feel like you spend too much time looking back at performance, with little opportunity to dig into the data with a focus on the view ahead.

In fact, 63% of CFOs believe not having enough time for analysis is the primary roadblock to being a more strategic leader. And in the same Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator survey, one-third of CFOs reported that lack of time for data analysis leads to delayed decision-making—which can mean missed business opportunities and impact to the bottom line.

Watch the webcast, “Dare to Dashboard: Stop Pulling Data, Start Delivering Insights”

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5 Ways Dashboards Help Unlock Hidden Opportunities

Are you an FP&A professional seeking to engage other departments across your enterprise? If so, it’s a great time to be in finance. Today, deeper engagement between finance and business teams is increasingly possible through interactive digital dashboards.

Dashboards also open the door for a more collaborative environment in which easy-to-interpret data is more readily shared and can be accessed by anyone with permission to view the dashboard. This is an essential benefit, considering the challenges CFOs and their finance teams face now and in the near future.

Watch the Webinar: Improve Your Dashboard and Reporting Process

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Good to Great: The Traits of Top-Performing CFOs

Finance executive roles are becoming increasingly important to the enterprise. In a 2015 survey of global CEOs by KPMG, 63% of the surveyed CEOs believe the CFO’s role will increase in significance over the next three years. The bad news? Thirty percent of those CEOs say their CFOs don’t understand or assist them enough with the challenges they face.

Gone are the days of the CFO as Controller in Chief or corporate cop. That’s not to say that CFOs will ever lose responsibility for maintaining controls or managing risk and regulatory compliance, but solid financial skills are just table stakes today. CEOs want true business partners.

The truth is, for decades, the best CFOs have been true business partners. What’s different now is that because of the convergence of several factors—the decline of the COO, the emergence of big data and analytics as a transformative force, and the ever-increasing pace of change—all CFOs must now meet that higher bar.

To learn more about the qualities your organization needs in a top-performing CFO, watch the webcast, “Setting a Course to ‘Yes’: How the CFO Role is Evolving”

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4 Steps to Better Financial Reporting

For businesses, feeling trapped in an endless cycle of too much data and not enough knowledge about that data can be a kind of hell on Earth. When you have endless spreadsheets to update—and multiple users working on countless versions that are often out-of-date—the result is the same: manual, error-prone, time-intensive reporting.

But there’s hope. We’ve identified four steps that can set you on the path to better reporting.

Download our eBook The Path to Reporting Nirvana: Four Steps to Enlightenment.

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Come Together Right Now: The Convergence of BI, Planning, and Analytics

As enterprises seek to derive value from an ever-rising mountain of data, they increasingly rely on business intelligence (BI) tools to both visualize and analyze the performance and efficiency of their business operations. And, as visualization and data analytics become more central to the decision-making process within an organization, it follows that these capabilities are becoming more directly tied to the unique business operation they support—whether that be finance, sales, human resources, or something else.

Enabling this evolution is the emergence of two key trends: the move toward self-service data and the emergence of pervasive analytics—a capability that embeds analytics into the operational and transactional applications needed to run the business.

Read the whitepaper “4 Steps to Making Your Finance Function an Analytics Powerhouse”

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Against the Odds: Hedging Your Bets with Scenario Planning

Now more than ever, strategically minded CFOs are turning to corporate performance management (aka CPM, enterprise performance management, or EPM) software to collect, validate, and store planning data in a single, central location.

By moving away from disjointed spreadsheets, companies can better focus on critical questions such as: How are we planning to hit particular targets? Who is accountable for achieving those particular results? And ultimately, why did we achieve different results than we expected? Continue reading

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Agility Puts Companies on Fast Track to Growth

As Charles Darwin so aptly put it, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.” This certainly applies to the business world—especially for companies experiencing rapid growth.

Is there one particular trait that defines a successful, fast-growing organization? Each emerging growth company has its own unique needs and issues, but agility is the distinguishing characteristic you see time and time again. Companies that can rapidly assess and course-correct—leveraging data from across their organizations—have a competitive advantage.

Download the CFO Indicator Q1 2016: Big Data, Better Vision: The Agile CFO report to learn how finance leaders are achieving new levels of agility.

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CFOs Weigh in on Non-Financial KPIs

Adaptive Insights infographic showcasing the impact of non-financial KPIs.

The game continues to change for CFOs and the office of finance. To accurately measure and forecast corporate performance, CFOs must now skillfully manage information and data from across the business—identifying, gathering, and analyzing it in a way that will inform strategic decision-making. This impacts not only the amount of data CFOs and their teams manage, but also the type of data they manage.

Gone are the days of simply calculating and reporting financial numbers. Rather, the office of finance must also account for the more meaningful metrics that typically drive the financials. CFOs must know the business drivers behind the financials and their potential impact on the company’s future. But that knowledge requires both business understanding—a skill that many CFOs identify as the one missing from their teams—and more efficient business processes.

As we’ve previously reported, this drive for deeper business understanding has put greater pressure on finance teams to collaborate and integrate with other parts of the business. And, as CFOs work to infuse themselves and their teams with greater business acumen, they are also introducing new, non-financial key performance indicators (KPIs) along with financial KPIs, seeking to more accurately track, measure, and forecast future performance.

Our Q3 2016 CFO Indicator report looks at the growing impact of non-financial KPIs in measuring corporate performance; why CFOs and their teams should lead the effort to define these important KPIs; and how business processes and skillsets must change to accommodate these new non-financial metrics.

Our study reveals that non-financial KPIs are on the rise, with more than three-quarters of CFOs reporting that they are tracking non-financial KPIs. In addition, many expect these metrics to comprise up to 30% of their KPIs in just two years. Yet, figuring out exactly which non-financial metrics to track could prove challenging.

Nearly half of CFOs have previously reported that finance and other departments aren’t aligned on key metrics, and the introduction of more KPIs, particularly the inherently more subjective non-financial KPIs, could only serve to aggravate the problem.

Check out our infographic for more information on how tracking more and more non-financial KPIs will impact the future of finance and corporate performance management (CPM).

Download the CFO Indicator Q3 2016 report for more insights, survey results, and charts based on input from more than 300 CFOs.

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4 Ways to Engage Other Departments in Forecasting

Accurate forecasting can’t happen in a bubble. Department heads beyond finance, however, are typically hesitant to participate in forecasting and planning activities.

This becomes more pronounced as you move away from the top of the company: While the vast majority of CFOs believe their teams successfully communicate with each other and the C-suite, according to our CFO Indicator Q4 2015 report, less than half think they’re doing a similarly good job with their peers in the marketing department—with whom they may have had long-standing confusion or conflict over financial resources.

But in an increasingly complex environment, every department, regardless of whether they’ve been traditional allies, needs to work in concert to create accurate plans. While the finance team must lead the forecasting process, it’s critical to give operational managers ownership and responsibility for important forecast elements.

Watch the webcast, “Forecasts That Don’t Disappoint”

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Ascending a Growing Mountain of Data with Strategic Finance

As CFOs strive to become the visionary leaders their organizations expect, building a strategic financial planning and analysis (FP&A) team skilled in analyzing data and uncovering key insights has become critical. This strategic FP&A function—with CFOs leading the way—will be needed to help organizations manage growth, ensure sustainability, and enable agile business models in an increasingly dynamic business environment.

According to a recent survey of more than 300 CFOs across the globe, 75% of CFOs want their teams to have a strategic and strong impact on their organizations. Yet only 46% believe they will have that kind of impact by 2017. These CFOs also estimate that 11-25% of their teams’ time is spent on strategic tasks today, and expect that number to grow to 25-50% by 2020.

Download the CFO Indicator Q2 2016 report for more survey results.

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