According to approximately 500 finance professionals surveyed recently for insightsoftware’s 2021 Finance Team Trends report, the number one challenge facing FP&A professionals today is a lack of time to spend on value-added analysis.
It comes as no surprise that this challenge takes the top spot, considering the makeup of the respondent pool. With job titles ranging from controller to CFO, 61 percent of respondents were the primary decision makers in their departments, and the other 39 percent shared responsibility for the decision-making process.
As organizations have come to understand that their success rests largely on their ability to use the data at their disposal to gain actionable insights and that many of those insights come from finance-related data, the need for value-added financial planning and analysis from the Office of Finance has never been greater.
The Role of the CFO: From Stewardship to Strategy
For several years now, the role of the CFO has been in a state of constant evolution, with CFOs stepping out of their traditional custodial role of financial data steward and taking a seat at the strategy table with other executive decision makers in an organization.
Regarding this evolution, McKinsey noted, “The opportunity for CFOs to establish the finance function as both a leading change agent and a source of competitive advantage has never been greater.”
Addressing the new expectations for CFOs, McKinsey’s partner, Ankur Agrawal, acknowledged that continuing to keep an eye on short-term financial performance while also moving into a role in which adding longer-term strategic business value is the goal puts increased pressure on CFOs today.
Agrawal observed, “[Leading the charge to take the long-term value of the enterprise] puts even more responsibility on the finance function in defining and telling the story of how value is being created in the enterprise over the long term. And those CFOs and finance executives who are able to tell that story and have proof points along the way, I think those are the more successful finance functions… It is one of the imperatives for the CFO of the future—to be the value architect for the long term. It’s one of the very important aspects of how CFOs will be measured.”
Manual Processes Impede Strategic Analysis
What keeps some CFOs from rising to the challenge of creating long-term value for their organizations?
It comes back to the issue identified in our most recent insightsoftware survey: CFOs and other finance team members lack the time necessary for deep, value-added analysis of the data they have.
According to survey respondents in North America and EMEA, manual and time-consuming processes rob finance teams of precious time that is needed for strategic analysis. Among those finance professionals who felt unable to fully execute against their tasks, 49 percent of FP&A professionals, 46 percent of those involved in controllership, and 51 percent of those involved in capital management identified manual processes as the main impediment to their ability to execute.
This finding corroborates the findings of the aforementioned McKinsey survey, which stated, in part, “While CFOs believe they are beginning to create financial value through nontraditional tasks, they also say that a plurality of their time is still devoted to traditional tasks versus newer initiatives.”
Clearing the Hurdle of Manual Processes as a Priority
As a strategic initiative, moving away from manual processes toward digital transformation is an obvious choice for the modern CFO. That is likely why initiatives that revolve around automation, digitization, and a general move away from manual processes were identified as priorities in the coming two years.
CFOs are investing in making these priorities a reality, allocating budget to purchasing budgeting and planning software, automating current responsibilities and tasks of the finance team, and enabling organizations as a whole and functional leaders, in particular, to make informed, timely decisions.
Move from Manual to Modern and from Steward to Strategist with insightsoftware
insightsoftware solutions enable CFOs and their teams to move away from tedious, time-consuming manual processes. With purpose-built tools for financial reporting, operational reporting, financial planning and analysis, tax provisioning and reporting, disclosure management, and more, insightsoftware integrates with more ERP and other business systems than any competitor in the industry to provide fast, automated access to accurate data.
insightsoftware solutions provide near real-time reporting and analytics, saving hours of manual data entry by connecting directly with your existing systems. Put simply, insightsoftware solutions put the power of deep-dive financial analytics right at your fingertips.
To see how our solutions work, request a demo today.