CFOs Plan to Increase Investments in Finance Technology

The majority of CFOs said they plan to take on more strategic leadership roles and cite a culture of analytics as a key competitive advantage.

adaptive and cfos

Finance is at the center of business and well-positioned to help guide strategic, data-driven decisions across a company, according to a global survey of more than 325 chief financial officers by cloud corporate performance management (CPM) specialist Adaptive Insights.

The majority of CFOs said they plan to take on more strategic leadership roles (69 percent) and cite a culture of analytics as a key competitive advantage in today's business climate (56 percent).

In today's fast-paced world, speed is paramount, but CFOs cite a lack of time for data analysis (63 percent) and complex legacy technology systems (40 percent) as primary speed bumps to being strategic leaders.

"Today's cloud-based CPM solutions offer a full range of options for integrating data from across the enterprise, including data from ERP systems as well as operational applications such as CRM and HR systems, whether located on-premises or in the cloud," Rob Hull, founder and chairman of Adaptive Insights, told eWEEK. "Combining data from multiple transactional systems into one CPM environment provides a CFO and their team with a holistic view of the past performance of the business and provides the data needed to see historical trends and derive key operational and financial drivers that can be used to create improved forecasts."

The majority of CFOs (59 percent) have high confidence in their regional economy, but confidence dips to 37 percent when global factors are considered.

CFOs cite economic uncertainty (84 percent) and competition (81 percent) as top concerns, followed by product or service obsolescence (65 percent) and interest rates and inflation (64 percent).

The fifth risk factor cited by 45 percent of global finance leaders is the outcome of upcoming national elections.

"The abundance of data available for CFOs today increases the complexity of the analytics to be performed and increases the sophistication required to truly derive insight from these volumes of data," Hull said. "Conversely, the introduction of simpler user interfaces within many CPM suites aids CFOs in deciphering the true value of the data to the business, both in understanding the past and forecasting the future."

While 38 percent of CFOs predict the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) will increase, nearly half (49 percent) of those who indicated that an IPO was relevant to their business admitted they are unprepared for it.

In addition, 63 percent of CFOs identify the No. 1 obstacle to upping their strategic game as not having enough time for data analysis.

"The use of analytics is already helping CFOs take a more strategic role in leading the business through data-driven decision-making," Hull explained. "This finance-driven use of analytics is helping to shape a culture of analytics within more and more companies. Over time, this will evolve into a more sophisticated blending of driver-based models with historically based predictive analytics for both financial and operational forecasting."