What CFOs Need to Drive Business Performance

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CFOs are under pressure. They need to be able to swiftly transform their business models and gain competitive advantage with strong bottom-line results. But complicating matters is a constantly changing business environment that requires the ability to manage volatility and drive business performance in an agile manner.

This comes as no easy task when you consider that nearly 25% of financial leaders today are caught up with managing operational expenses and more basic tasks like standardizing business processes, data structures, spreadsheets and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. How, then, can they make the jump from being scorekeepers to the real drivers of business performance? By monetizing their data and generating measurable economic benefits from it.

Many financial leaders lack the ability to analyze both financial and operational data.

Unfortunately, many finance organizations lack the ability to integrate and analyze data. They are often hindered by slow legacy systems that don’t talk to one another and a plethora of external data that could play a key role in analyzing business performance but is seldom used. Without integrated data and KPI-focused analytics, CFOs cannot detect and respond quickly to business changes, and they risk falling behind their competitive peers.

Another thing to consider is that many organizations have data silos throughout their businesses and struggle to integrate their financial and operational plans and results.  This leads to multiple versions of the truth, greatly hinders decision making, and can deter line-of-business managers from collaborating with each other.   To break down these silos, financial leaders must embrace a managed approach that brings financial, operational and transactional data together for an integrated and unified view of the business.  And, they must collaborate with analysts and data scientists to provide real-time decision support and analytical insights. It’s a significant shift in culture, but a necessary one.

The role of Finance is changing.

As with so many aspects of business, the role of the finance function is changing as digital transformation spreads across the entire organization.  With this transformation, financial leaders are now working hand-in-hand with other line-of-business leaders not only to cut costs, but to identify efficiencies and opportunities. Helping them are integrated planning, analytics and reporting tools that can accelerate decision making by providing the insights needed to make the right choices.

CFOs are the ideal internal champion to create analytics strategies that extend planning and reporting capabilities beyond finance into sales, marketing, operations and other business areas. The financial leaders Silvon works with have successfully made the move to becoming performance drivers within their organizations by integrating key data from multiple sources and applying powerful planning functionality and performance metrics to that data. As a result, they have better clarity into value drivers – not only financial drivers like revenue growth and expenses, but drivers at the operational and business units as well.

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This post was written by Pat Hennel