It’s no secret that CFOs want to be more strategic. So what’s holding finance back? It’s the old-world tools they’re using for routine tasks, such as the financial close and reporting, which add risk and drain time and resources.
Take financial consolidation as an example. Many companies use spreadsheets to manage intercompany eliminations and allocations, which is time-consuming and error-prone—and this manual work slows down the entire close. According to Ventana Research, only 38% of companies can close their quarterly books in six days or less.
So how can you improve your process to execute faster and provide critical financial information sooner? Here’s a three-step guide.
Excel is like a lot of useful but familiar tools—use it long enough and it becomes a habit. You take the well-worn path of actions and approaches to get the job done, even if they are not necessarily the fastest and most effective ways to get the best results.
Mastering Excel is key to gaining what every finance professional needs to succeed: More time. By working faster and more efficiently in Excel, you can free up extra time to support the strategic priorities of your organization. And that could help you move up the corporate ladder.
There’s no time like the present to invest in modern technology. The longer you wait, the more entrenched your company will become in clunky tools that are out of touch with today’s business needs.
As it relates to financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting, old-world processes can lead to costly errors, leaving the finance team scrambling to fix spreadsheet mistakes and sucking up time gathering data rather than analyzing it and providing valuable insights to decision-makers.
So how do you know if it’s time to switch to a modern finance system? Here are three of the most telling signs:
It’s a reasonable first reaction for any department leader, including those in finance.
More heads = more production.
Of course there are times when hiring and adding headcount makes sense for your organization. For example, you’ll need finance teams at new remote locations as your business expands into regions and you add more offices. You need CFOs and controllers and other experienced finance professionals to analyze the data and provide strategic guidance to the rest of the business.
But some of today’s most efficient finance teams are leveraging new business intelligence and performance management technology to create productivity-boosting processes while maintaining the same headcount. They’re not growing their teams or getting current employees to work harder. They’re instead helping employees to work smarter, and they’re doing it with financial automation technology.
During last week’s webinar, Forrester VP of Research Paul Hamerman, one of the leading analysts in our industry, explored the adoption trend of cloud-based financial management tools in the enterprise sector (FP&A, consolidation, and analytics). We discussed the future of corporate performance management in the cloud and how organizations are deploying these applications today.
It’s no secret that decisions to deploy or not deploy business applications are increasingly moving from IT into the hands of department leaders. The cloud enables them to move at their speed, and no longer have to wait for IT. During the webinar, Paul shared Forrester data that shows how the cloud is perceived as improving business agility, accelerating speed of implementation, and enabling better resource allocation.
But we’re finding that organizations are also using the cloud to expand their use of on-premise applications they already use. What’s happening is that, while many enterprise finance teams are running on-premise tools like Hyperion or Cognos, they’re picking a new tool, or new deployment strategy, that best aligns with new business needs as they arise.
Imagine if it took 20 clicks to place an order on Amazon, and it came with a manual on how to do it. Would you order so many parcels?
Or what if posting a Facebook status update involved a long, convoluted set of steps, and perhaps sometimes even a support call to a Facebook expert to help you out? Would you be as engaged in social media?
Fortunately, both of these companies – each of them leaders in their respective categories – figured out that in order to make their services truly useful and drive value, they had to be incredibly easy to use. They had to work the way their users work. That’s what Adaptive is doing in the enterprise software space. And that’s the main driver behind our latest product release.
Deloitte released the Deloitte 2013 Technology Fast 500 list recently; an annual ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and clean technology companies in North America. And this year’s Deloitte list has Adaptive fingerprints all over it, largely due to the great success of so many Adaptive Planning customers.
As you’ll see below, finance professionals face many obstacles during the financial consolidation and reporting process, including:
An average of 11 days to close the books each month.
Consolidation of multiple subsidiaries
Antiquated financial reporting spreadsheets leading to crippling financial errors
The list goes on and on. But as this infographic explains, Adaptive Planning is here to help with a cloud-based planning, budgeting and forecasting software solution that has helped businesses cut their time spent on financial consolidation by as much as 70%! Check out the full story below, and then click on the infographic to watch our new financial consolidation video
for more advice on accelerating your close process and freeing up time to focus on more strategic, revenue generating initiatives!
1. a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smart phone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
1. “I took an awesome selfie yesterday at that party and dropped it on Instagram. I have like 17 likes on it now!”
The term is well deserving of official word status. Use of the word selfie has increased by 17,000% from November 2012 – November 2013 according to Oxford’s own research, as millions of self-taught, self-portrait photographers have snapped selfies all over the world in all kinds of both beautiful and bizarre backdrops.
I digress. The term made popular largely by tweens on Snapchat has elevated to “word” status because its meaning transcends age, gender, geography, and even professional boundaries. In fact, it’s even applicable in the world of corporate finance and cloud technology.
Research by Gartner shows that financial consolidation and financial reports are top priorities for today’s CFOs. Why have both risen to the top of the list? The changing business environment has caused a shift in mentality. Traditionally, CFOs focused on limiting risk exposure. But with today’s competitive landscape, they’re more focused on pursuing opportunities for growth.