The role of the CFO has steadily evolved due to several factors, such as the advent of new technology and the accelerated pace of modern businesses that have transformed growth trajectories. To remain competitive in such a landscape, today’s corporate leaders are turning to the CFO for better financial insight to help them make more well-informed decisions. In order to deliver that insight and embrace their new leadership role, an increasing number of CFOs are deploying modern financial technology to create a culture of analytics.
Leveraging modern tools is just one of the things that today’s best CFOs do better than the rest across all industries, from manufacturing, to retail, to higher education. Here’s a quick look at 10 specific strategies that today’s top finance chiefs have mastered, according to several of today’s top-performing CFOs. Continue reading →
We all know the methods used to create favorable departmental budgets and forecasts: Managers ask for more than what’s required with the hope of agreeing on the budget they actually want; junior managers promise unprecedented results in exchange for executive support and an investment in their new ideas; and of course, the seasoned, senior managers warn of significant consequences to the company if their specific budget is cut.
This negotiation process is nothing new to the business world. It’s been going on for decades. This is not strategic management. But the best-run organizations have learned that there’s a much better way to do it — one that completely removes the politics and horse trading from the process: Using rolling forecasts with a strategic management tool.
In recent years, the amount of data available to the finance department has exploded. While in the past, companies worked hard to secure all of their key information in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, today organizations are collecting data from a multitude of systems— from customer relationship management (CRM), website tracking, supply chain, human resources, and more—generating a vast amount of information that can be used to support decision-making.
This data deluge brings a great wealth of opportunity, with more information than ever to work into forecasts and inform financial plans. However, it also brings a fresh set of challenges. With so much data at its disposal, the finance department spends more time, resources, and skilled staff wrangling the data. As a result of being overwhelmed by data, most planning processes today are static—meaning they lack buy-in, are inaccurate, and quickly fall out of date. And those plans can’t serve as the strategic, dynamic management tool today’s finance teams need to drive business success.
Make no mistake: Decades-old spreadsheets are not built to handle the complexities of modern, fast-paced businesses. They’re great personal productivity tools, but can present major accuracy issues when shared across multiple users and locations.
So for all of you spreadsheet jockeys out there, here are three ways that Excel-based processes could be slowing you down, and what to do instead.
Today I’m happy to announce the release of Adaptive Suite 2017.1. This is our first of three releases this year, and it extends our ease of use, puts more power in the hands of modelers, and makes it faster to plan and adapt.
These capabilities further enable finance and business users to adopt a process we call active planning—planning that’s collaborative, comprehensive, and continuous. In short, the updates in 2017.1 will help FP&A teams better manage their business.
Companies often spend weeks or months developing an annual plan or budget, but by the time they’re finished, the market has changed and the budget has become obsolete. There’s a better way: rolling forecasts.
Instead of being once-a-year exercises, rolling forecasts happen on a regular cadence. Unlike budgets that may have hundreds or thousands of line items, they focus on key business drivers. And rather than focusing on the past, rolling forecasts act as early warning systems when you’ve drifted off course. Continue reading →
Today’s CEOs expect their finance chiefs to be strategic deputies and growth champions. Over the past decade, CFO responsibilities have widened to include corporate portfolio management and oversight of capital allocation. At the same time, though, nearly half of CFOs surveyed in the Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator Q2 2016 report said their teams are already working up to 50 hours per week.
So how can busy CFOs maintain their reporting duties while also serving as agents of change in their organization? Here are six questions to keep top of mind as you strive to bring the most strategic value to your business.
By now, it’s clear that CFOs are expected to do far more than provide accurate reporting. When seeking out strategic advice, CEOs turn to their finance chiefs a whopping 72% of the time. But just as finance leaders must become trusted advisors, the amount of data they must manage is exploding. By 2020, digital data will hit 44 trillion gigabytes, which would fill a stack of iPads extending to the moon more than six times.
As the pace of change continues to accelerate, then, CFOs must act as pilots, according to a recent PwC white paper. That means stepping into the cockpit and guiding their businesses through turbulence, aided by cutting-edge dashboards that allow them to develop “what-if simulations” and make mid-course corrections when necessary.
These new, real-time dashboards allow not just the finance team, but a wide variety of stakeholders across the company, to update operational information and engage with data in far more impactful ways.