Finance Transformation in 2016: Raising the Bar on Business Analysis

Mary Driscoll's picture

According to new research conducted by APQC, finance leaders are keenly aware of the need to improve the finance function. What’s so new about that? A lot, actually.

For starters, business managers are changing their tune when it comes to what they want from finance. They now insist that finance re-imagine itself and deliver a step-change in the quality and relevance of insights it generates. What used to be called decision support is now branded—with large doses of aspiration—as predictive business analytics. Finance is expected to keep pace with the enterprise’s data-driven race toward competitive advantage. That means mastering the analytical methods, tools and terminology of the day.

The message to finance: Ditch the lingo of accounting. Don’t bother with superfluous details in the annual budget. Don’t dwell on how we did yesterday; tell us how we are likely to fare economically under various scenarios. And illustrate our options with crisp visuals.  

The implications for finance are enormous, touching all corners from people and process to IT and organizational structure. APQC’s latest research on finance transformation argues that most CFOs are focusing on plans and budgets for financial systems integration and ways to reduce manual data shuffling. They want good data on demand, and they want to spend less on finance transaction processing. Fair enough. That’s the traditional mantra of finance process improvement. Some, though, are aiming higher on the analytics front.

Our full research report will be available in mid-August. But if you are interested in a quick look at our key research take-ways today, check out the Finance Process Improvement: What Leaders Want slide deck.

 

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