The Evolving Role of Finance within the Construction Industry
The Irish construction industry has entered a new period of positivity and optimism, with this comes new expectations and challenges for the role of the CFO.
Over 10 years on from the crash of 2008, the construction industry set to grow by 20% in 2019 (AECOM) Despite this promise, scars remain, with the unquestioning stakeholder confidence of old replaced by scepticism and a need for enhanced reporting accuracy, in-depth analysis and forward-looking predictions of project risk and profitability.
As a result, the role of CFO within the industry has evolved from being the custodians of reporting the numbers to become strategic business advisors using the numbers to predict risk, pre-empt project profitability and take advantage of market opportunity. With this new role comes a fresh set of business challenges.
With huge volumes of data from across the organisation, often held on disparate systems and excel files, the consolidation of essential predictive business data requires considerable time and effort. A challenge compounded by the project-based nature of the construction industry. By the time data has been manually collated, checked and analysed it is often already out-of-date.
The increasingly corporate-style management of the industry brings with it the demand for greater transparency and granular, factual, real-time insights into every aspect of the business. With multiple departments reporting the same data in different ways, discrepancies in data mean finance departments must also play the role of mediator and fact checker. Confidence in the numbers cannot be easily assured, impacting on overall agility and strategic decision making.
To meet the demands of the board and the business forward-looking CFO's must look to technology to support the move from historical reporting to forward-looking predictions and analysis. Bringing various departments and projects together on a singular Enterprise Resource Planning solution to eliminate data silos, automate the consolidation process, eradiate inaccuracies and deliver a single source of truth regardless of the business lens applied.