Today to win, organizations have to outmaneuver the competition, and this is where finance needs to step up and become a better business partner. But how are CFOs, and the finance functions they manage, driving process improvement efforts that lead to this outcome? To answer this question and more, APQC’s Senior Research Fellow in Financial Management, Mary Driscoll, fielded a survey to determine what tools, techniques, and technologies will enable finance to reach its full potential and stay relevant in the eyes of the business.
Last week I caught up with Mary to see if she could shed light on the initial survey findings which can be viewed here: Finance Improvement Today—Plan to Apply Beautiful Minds. According to Mary, there are several drivers of finance improvement efforts today, including the availability of big data, growth of the FP&A group, greater focus on cost-reduction, and increased need for better business analytics. The tools enabling finance to implement process improvement initiatives include process frameworks, cloud technologies, and tried-and-true change-management approaches.
During our podcast, Mary answered the following questions:
- What did you think about the survey results in terms of how this round of process improvement initiatives different from the past?
- About 70 percent of survey participants think data science will be important to finance employees. Was this finding surprising to you?Also, what do you think data science and analytics mean to finance today?
- Based on your response, it seems finance is responding to the business in a new way by becoming more service-oriented. According to the survey results, improving FP&A is very or extremely important to three-quarters of survey participants. Do you think FP&A groups are the means to this end—finance becoming more service-oriented and producing more practical analysis the business can use?
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