The business world has changed, and the CFO role is evolving too, as Adaptive Insights Founder and Chairman (and veteran CFO) Robert S. Hull often shares. In fact, perhaps no CXO role has changed more within this new business landscape than that of the CFO. On top of the traditional responsibilities of closing the books and producing financial reports, today’s CFOs are increasingly called upon to provide deeper analytical insight into the business. This new charter means finance needs new tools and a new focus to not only view, but also efficiently gather and analyze data from across the company—at a faster clip.
In this new world, CFOs:
- Spend less time looking in the rear view mirror and more time looking toward the future
- Drive their organizations toward a single source of truth to reduce data debates
- Engage their formidable analytical skills to support business decisions in real time
But there are still barriers on this path of change. Roughly half of the 435 finance chiefs surveyed in the Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator Report Q3 2015 said they still manually aggregate data from multiple sources. Nearly 70% noted that they are “average” at best when it comes to effectively integrating operational data into performance analytics dashboards.
Increasingly in recent years, the office of the CFO is concerned with not just financial data analytics, but with business analytics. Spreadsheets and manual processes won’t produce the insights fast enough to keep pace with what the business demands. Today’s finance teams are asked to think more analytically, act more collaboratively, and help make better, data-driven decisions. But they can only do so once the CFO has cultivated broad organizational alignment around efficient processes and gained a holistic view of business data from disparate sources. So what enables the acceleration?
Finance leaders must embrace changes in technology, move to more agile platforms, and create a single source of truth. The opportunity and technology finally exist for finance to lead with insights—matching rigor and analysis with speed and agility to drive better business decisions and, ultimately, accelerated corporate growth. Embracing change in the present can give CFOs and their organizations a powerful competitive advantage in our analytics-driven future.