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.
We all know that constant change is a business reality. But can it be a career booster, too?
In our recent report, “CFO Indicator Q1 2016: Big Data, Better Vision: The Agile CFO,” we found that CFOs who can use big data to drive business strategy and forecasting in these uncertain times are poised to take on greater influence in their organization. It’s an opportunity tied to an overall expansion of the CFO’s job description, or what Morris Treadway—KPMG global head of financial management and global lead for EPM Center of Excellence—calls the “renaissance of the CFO.”
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.
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.
We’ve made the case for years: There’s a huge opportunity and need for CFOs to become more strategic to their organizations.
We all agree that financial data should heavily influence future decisions within any business eyeing long-term success. But the cumbersome effort required to gather and analyze historical performance data and project future outcomes has hindered many finance leaders’ ability to spend less time managing data and more time acting as a strategic partner to the organization.
Finance needs the right FP&A tools and processes to drive a fundamental shift in responsibilities. I’m talking about a complete transition from number cruncher to strategic decision-maker – from reporting on historical performance, to driving future decisions.
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.
A recent survey of nearly 150 corporate finance leaders has shown what we’ve known for some time: Corporate finance leaders realize the need for, and benefits of, cloud-based CPM software.
According to the survey conducted by Talentia Software, 50 percent of the finance directors and CFOs included in the survey are still using spreadsheets to manage their overall corporate performance.
Fifty-four percent of respondents within the same survey said that they believe collaboration across company departments is definitely critical to improving their corporate performance. Another 81 percent also said that accurate data is equally crucial.
To understand the basis of the case for cloud finance tools, see below for a comparison of finance system challenges and business improvements from cloud-based systems within the first year of use, as reported by financial executives between 2008 – 2013.