Today's Biggest CFO Challenges & How to Address Them.

A leading global authority and best-selling author on organisational performance and business success, Bernard Marr shares his view on the challenges faced by today's CFO's along with some helpful tips and tricks to help overcome them in our free eBook.

The author of this page: Bernard Marr
Bernard Marr, Author (The Intelligence Revolution), Keynote Speaker & Advisor Jul 01, 2019

As we enter the 4th industrial revolution with fast technological advances and more data-driven decision-making, new challenges emerge for every stakeholder – and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is no exception.

The person responsible for overseeing the strategic financial decisions across the company potentially has more information than ever at their fingertips, enabling better decision-making and sounder strategies. That’s the theory, anyway. In reality, that information is often inefficiently organized or difficult to access when needed.

This means that due to a lack of a comprehensive data strategy, opportunities to drive financial efficiency are missed, overlooked or misjudged far too frequently. Data is often siloed or buried in badly-maintained Excel sheets or is out-of-date and backwards-looking

Challenge 1: Spreadsheets, Spreadsheets, Spreadsheets

Is Excel creating data blind spots within your organisation?

Let’s face it – most people don’t like spreadsheets. In spite – or perhaps because - of their ubiquitous nature, spreadsheets are often poorly planned, and information is generally far easier to take on board when it is conveyed in another way, such as graphically.

Due to a lack of a comprehensive data strategy, opportunities to drive financial efficency are missed, overlooked or misjudged far too frequently. Data is often siloed or buried in badly-maintained Excel sheets or is out-of-date and backwards-looking.

Challenge 2: Data Disconnect

Trusting the numbers

Another problem is that, far too often, the CFO simply can’t trust the numbers they are given to work with. This could be due to the previously mentioned lack of data strategy, or a lack of a “single source of truth”, unified reporting system. Just speak to a CFO and you will start to understand the picture – it’s often this disconnect between the figures on their spreadsheet and reality that keeps them awake at night!

CFO's often fail to deliver data-driven insights to the board adn the wider workforce....because the infrastructure isn't in place to help them deliver what is needed!

Leveraging Technology to Drive Growth

Could Corporate Performance Management present the solution?

Increasingly, CFOs are finding that the answer lies in Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solutions. These are tools which can provide the essential “single source of truth” by eliminating barriers between siloed data. They also enable insights to be surfaced through analytics and information to be communicated in a simplified, “need to know” manner – in other words, the right information to the right people at the right time, rather than the unwieldy data-dump provided by the typical business spreadsheet.

Having data collated and distributed through a single centralized source eliminates concerns that information could be outdated or contradictory – the process of keeping everything up-to-date can be automated and immediately becomes more trustworthy.

It also enables advanced statistical analysis such as predictive analytics, which is heavily reliant on an organization’s ability to have faith in the accuracy of the information it is gathering and storing.

CPM solutions are increasingly proving their value to CFOs in a growing number of businesses. This is because they offer a method of predicting and managing the impact of change. When tasked with assessing the cost, risks and potential gains to be made from moving to digital-first, data-driven business models, they potentially provide a clear overview – once again without resorting to the dreaded spreadsheets.

As the world’s economies make the transition into the 4th industrial revolution, the pace of transformation is speeding up. This means financial and accounting practices have to speed up too, to match the rate of change.

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