Eight out of 10 large companies currently invest in at least one major program to improve their financial management processes, whether it be IT applications, process automation, changes in organizational structure or talent development. This is significant for three reasons, notes Mary Driscoll, senior research fellow with best practices and benchmarking research firm APQC:
- CFOs want to deliver both effectiveness and efficiency. "CFOs want to be sure finance retains its role in business planning by delivering consistently good analytical support to decision makers," Driscoll observes.
- Companies realize they must get better at analyzing growth drivers and profitability, meaning they're devoting more effort to modeling performance risks to better understand customer buying patterns.
- Rather than focusing on cost efficiency, the finance department is now being asked to "step up and provide faster, fresher and more granular analyses of vast amounts of data," Driscoll says.