82 percent CFOs see the value of integrating enterprise-wide data, but only 24 percent think their team is up to the task, said a survey by IBM.
This means there’s a 205 percent increase in the gap between the importance of data and the ability to exploit its value since the question was first asked in 2005, showcasing a critical divide in the skills and capabilities for today’s finance teams.
Conducted by IBM’s Institute of Business Value (IBV), the study — from face-to-face conversations with 576 CFOs from around the world — found that CFOs’ expectations of their finance team have evolved, as have their views on technology.
While macro-economic and market factors still lead the list of external forces they expect to have the most impact on their enterprises in the near future, technology is now third on the list – up from fifth place in 2010, said IBM.
Bill Fuessler, partner, Finance, Risk & Fraud, IBM Global Business Services, said: “Data has always sat in the center of a CFO’s job responsibilities, and CFOs now recognize how insights from Big Data are helping their company become more competitive. CFOs are being asked to anticipate the future and discover new areas of revenue growth – we anticipate this will spur a new strategic alliance between the CFO and CMO as they partner to drive the corporate growth agenda.”
A critical differentiator for most successful CFOs is how they use data. While the average CFO relies on spreadsheets and intuition for the majority (66 percent) of their work, more than two-fifths (44 percent) of Performance Accelerators combine internal and external data to produce insights.
Cordell Sweeney, SVP and CFO at Pabst Brewing Company, said: “Leveraging analytics has enabled us to change the conversation and become value-added partners, using business insights to drive decisions that lead to gaining market share, increasing profitability, and creating value for our shareholders.”
IBM said one of the other defining characteristics of Performance Accelerators is that they typically operate much more efficiently than other CFOs. More than half have created a service delivery framework to guide the design, development and operation of key financial processes. They are also more likely than other finance organizations to use a standalone, cross-functional shared services center for transactional financial activities.
Performance Accelerators also have a much better grasp of the digital domain as nearly half work in companies with a seamlessly integrated physical-digital strategy. Further, the majority (70 percent) understands – and collaborates with – customers far more extensively than other CFOs.