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Today’s Business is Driven by Data

As the leader of a company, CEOs make a fundamentally large portion of corporate decisions, including management, operations, and sales development. In order to do that effectively, they need to have the best, updated forecasting resources to make sound decisions and be confident in the outcomes. This is vital throughout corporate growth, and the demands for automation, data analytics, and forecasting are more prominent now than ever before due to the current economic events taking place. Because of this, it is time for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to make some drastic changes in financial planning and analysis systems to get accurate data to provide it for CEOs.

Companies Demand Data

CEOs need timely data that is accurate, viable, and trustworthy at all times. This gives them the ability to make the correct choices that will better the company overall and help it thrive. When the data they are working from is outdated and inaccurate due to lack of automation, everyone associated with the business suffers. The critical areas which are the leading cause of concern include:

  • Forecasting frequency and accuracy
  • Using data to drive decisions internally
  • Cash flow reporting and insight
  • An efficient budgeting and planning process

A recent Bain & Co. survey of nearly 800 executives worldwide found the share of companies scaling up automation technologies will at least double in 2020, and the fallout from the coronavirus will likely accelerate this adoption. These technologies include low code automation, optical character recognition (OCR), robotic process automation (RPA), and conversational artificial intelligence (AI). If CFOs are able to implement these financial planning and analysis software systems for their companies, CEOs will be able to run their companies more optimally.

Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the integrated management of primary business processes, using real-time data that is mediated by software and technology. CFOs’ understanding of enterprise resource planning is now a necessity, not something that is a bonus anymore. CEOs require CFOs to have expertise in this area of business, and that need will only continue to grow, especially post-pandemic.

President and CFO Search Practice Managing Partner of Cowen Partners Executive Search, Shawn Cole, stated, “While CFOs with ERP experience have been in demand for a long time, ERP experience is now a prerequisite, not unlike an accounting or finance degree. Many of the CFOs we place are inheriting ERP selection and implementation initiatives at their new companies.”

Mr. Cole says the days of using excel as an ERP solution are over, due to advancements in automation, data analytics, and forecasting. With this new technology, many of the ERP solutions implemented five years ago are already dated, meaning the gap between CFOs with and without ERP experience is widening.

Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions

Though these alterations from original operations to utilizing new software can sound daunting, it does not have to be that way. There are already many financial resources and software platforms that can help CFOs integrate ERP solutions for CEOs to feel comfortable relying on. For example, performance management and business analytics consulting firms help companies make better decisions by modernizing their financial planning and analysis. In today’s environment, using data will be critical to future success.

Another route that CFOs can look into are software solutions such as OneStream. Their software simplifies the complex factors, ensuring a user-friendly unified financial experience, all while CEOs obtain the diverse range of vital financial information they need to run their business. Going this route will allow global organizations to migrate away from Excel spreadsheets and legacy CPM platforms for improved process management, planning, and reconciliations.

Conclusion

As it stands today, it is apparent that 2020 budgeting and forecasting must be completely redone, which is no longer feasible without automation, data analytics, and forecasting.  CEOs need real-time projections to prepare for an evolving business environment, sometimes weekly, and CFOs are responsible for meeting this requirement. With ERP solutions being at the forefront of innovation and filling in the gaps, CFOs need to adapt to this to give CEOs the most accurate data to perform their roles adequately. This is a mutual relationship between the two parties, and if CFOs do their best at meeting the required needs for CEOs, then the future of corporate business will transform into a much more viable stance then if limited action is taken to remediate the current detrimental issues in corporate management and decision making.

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