Category Archives: industry research

Automation concept image with text and gears symbols--automate financial consolidation

3-Step Guide to Automating Consolidation

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.

Watch the webcast “Take the Pain Out of Financial Consolidation”

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Hand holding a piece of white puzzle with word 2017 BUDGET.

Harvard Business Review: Key Functions of Successful Business Budgeting

Planning a corporate budget, always a challenge, and it certainly is getting any easier, especially as the role of finance is under pressure to become more strategic

So today, with 2017 fast approaching, we review two of the four functions of successful business budgeting as defined in the Harvard Business Review’s, “Budgeting Seeing the Future.” Below is the short and sweet version of the first two main functions.
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Three poster mockup hanging on the wall. Three posters template for your presentation etc. mockup, representing three signs it’s time to upgrade to modern budgeting software.

The Top Three Signs You Need Better Budgeting Software

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:

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Reflections on 2015: CFO Research Indicates Strategic Priorities

As we prepare to ring in the New Year, it’s only natural to get excited about turning the page and planning for the year ahead. Out with the old and in with the new, right? Not so fast! Let’s first take a little time to reflect on 2015, think about where we’ve been, and consider where we might be headed.

What better way to do that than by taking a look at the results reported in the Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator reports we initiated earlier this year? These surveys began in an effort to tap into the minds of the CFO community, glean the top issues that concern them, and gain a better understanding for what they believe will be the key attributes for a successful, modern CFO.

We’ve seen some thought-provoking trends and ideas emerge in our first three installments and are in the midst of pulling together our Q4 report, which is due out in January. While we can’t wait to share those results with you, let’s first review our 2015 findings. We saw two major themes emerge: a shift from global to regional considerations and CFOs leading with data-driven insights.

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Finance Transformation in the Cloud: Are You Ready?

Guest blog by Christine Lau, Manager, Management Consulting and Advisory, KPMG Australia

“By 2016, at least 25% of enterprise finance organizations will move to the cloud for specific CPM processes, and many will use a hybrid approach through a combination of cloud and on-premises solutions.”1

This prediction from Gartner—along with the total cost of ownership for cloud-based solutions that’s an average of 77% less than that of on-premises software solutions—makes me believe that the corporate finance space is at a tipping point of finance transformation that clearly leads to the cloud.

So what does this actually mean for modern finance leaders and departments, and what are some of the trends that modern CFOs are starting to recognize?

Traditionally, less mature finance organizations gravitate towards on-premises spreadsheets to handle the majority of their financial budgeting and planning processes. While a spreadsheet is easy to use and does not incur additional cost, it is not an easy tool to scale up to share large amounts of data or perform complex calculations. It is difficult to use as a collaboration tool among teams, and it is not secure. Moreover, using spreadsheets alone to manage the entire business is manual, slow, and prone to errors.

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CFOs Speak: Strategic Finance Chiefs Define Their Role

The evolution of the CFO role garners much attention in both industry conversations and media coverage. One recent high-profile example covered the expanded responsibilities of Twitter’s CFO, Anthony Noto, from finance to marketing—to possibly, as some have speculated, the recently vacated CEO position. But what do fellow CFOs think about this trend of shifting from finance leader to broader business leader? Or more specifically, what does it mean if you’re called a “strategic CFO”?

The traditional view of the role is often discussed in tandem with risk, compliance, and accounting. Today, finance chiefs are serving as strategic advisors to the CEO in addition to fulfilling their fiduciary responsibilities and extracting greater value from the FP&A function. In fact, in the Q2 2015 CFO Indicator conducted by Adaptive Insights, nearly half (49%) of the more than 325 CFOs surveyed worldwide said assuming a more strategic leadership role is the greatest change to their position.

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Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator Brief: April 2015

 

High res indicator banner CFOs have long been tasked with overseeing the financial health of an organization, but today’s business climate has triggered a fundamental shift in how they access, analyze and use data to make decisions.

The art of making data-driven decisions lives at the intersection of intuiPicture4tion, hard facts and strategy.  The need to analyze business information to drive strategy in finance has never been greater.

The following points from Adaptive’s CFO Indicator and Armanino’s CFO Evolution® research provide insight into how modern CFOs value and use data to drive value and set strategic direction.

  • 84 percent feel the most important skill they have is to think and act strategically
  • 69 percent are resolved to leverage data to make more insightful analytics-based decisions in 2015
  • 40 percent consider the ability to leverage analytics to make data-driven decisions as one of their most required skills
  • 47 percent want their analysis to be based on predictive data, and 48 percent based on historical data*
  • 76 percent are facing an increase in KPI demand from the executive team*
  • Financial KPIs are the most effective types for management decision making*

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Business women holding posts in ENTERPRISE.

The Insider’s Guide to Buying Enterprise Software

After being in the software industry for nearly 20 years – having sold software, demoed it, implemented it, developed it, and marketed it – and bought quite a bit of it too, I’m still surprised by how many buyers don’t follow some basic ground rules when they’re making such a big decision. Asking some basic questions and doing some key research yourself can make all the difference between success and failure.

Let’s face it, it’s easy to build some requirements that you need and then glide along the sales process – sitting through the vendor sales presentations, seeing the demos, reading the success stories, getting a few references, and then signing the quote. But the best buyers really get inside the process – and follow seven key ground rules.

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The New Role of Modern CFOs

Guest blog by Daniel Caringi, National Solutions Manager, BDO Canada LLP Solutions

More than simply managing numbers, today’s CFOs are playing a pivotal role in the strategic decision-making process for their businesses.

To help illustrate the above statement, FEI Canada released a survey in May, 2014, titled “Branding the CFO“. In this survey, finance leaders across Canada share their views and priorities in helping to manage the business.

Of particular interest in the report is the impact technology is making when it comes to helping finance leaders gain visibility into overall business performance. It’s clear that today’s CFOs need to understand how technology, specifically Corporate Performance Management (CPM) technology, can help them excel in their new, strategic roles.

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Masquerade mask - Fake cloud solutions

Product Tip Tuesday: How To See Through The Fake Cloud SaaS-Querade

We take a unique spin on Product Tip Tuesday this week, focusing more on the BI & CPM industry as a whole to help business leaders identify and avoid fake cloud solutions.

Legacy on-premises providers are feeling the heat, as more and more businesses worldwide continue to migrate to the cloud for added agility, greater collaboration, and faster data analysis.

This current cloud momentum has left many legacy players playing catch-up. They’re frantically migrating their products to the “cloud” – but it’s really just the “hosting” of old. The truth is that they’re gluing together old products to a delivery model that was never designed to work together. Worse still, they’re marketing it as if it is a real cloud solution. The “cloud-washing” phenomenon has now come to the budgeting, planning, consolidation, and business intelligence space, where legacy providers are warming up two-decades old software, painting puffy cloud pictures in brochures and presentations, and hoping their prospective customers can’t spot the difference. The truth is, you can’t just move on-premise software to a datacenter, and call it “cloud”. Ultimately, the customer is the loser in this scenario.

Even the media is fed up with fake cloud providers that try to pass as SaaS vendors.

Why? Because there are real, meaningful differences between solutions born and bred in the cloud, and those that were forced into the cloud to try to keep up with today’s business needs. Customers who are unable to navigate through the sea of SaaS-queraders and who are fooled by the fakers are destined to be stuck with expensive, antiquated solutions to run their businesses.

So the question is this:

Can You Spot a Fake Cloud Budgeting and Planning Solution when you see it?

Here are four warning signs to look out for:

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