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Setting the CFO office on the path of continuous modernization: 5 steps in the right direction

Dec. 18 2020 by Leslie Cant, Product Marketing Director - CCH Tagetik

Performance Management

From elite athletes to successful business, the increasingly accepted wisdom is that small, incremental improvements are more achievable, and just as impactful, as big, dramatic changes. 

When Marco van der Kooij of Foresight Consulting lays out his 5 steps to Make a Move for Continuous Modernizationhe is clearly thinking along these lines in terms of unleashing the potential of the CFO office to plan smarter, manage better and act faster.  

And it’s important because we live in volatile times. All sorts of factors throughout the supply chain are requiring increased storage of so-called big data. This is impacting the CFO office and evolving its role irreversibly to that of business partner, rather than just information provider, for the planning and control cycle. The information technology behind such a transformation needs to support this revolution in data-driven decision making. 

The benefit of data-driven decision making is that it leads to higher productivity and profitability, because when operational, financial, non-financial and external data are combined in real time to steer the business more effectively with forward-looking insights, this gives a competitive edge.  

The MIT Center for Digital Business found that organizations driven most by data-driven decisions had 4% higher productivity and 6% higher profits. To achieve it calls for a vision and roadmap for continuous modernization, which factors in:  

  • The competence within the organization and office of the CFO 

  • Information needs and data 

  • The planning & control cycle 

  • IT 

The Whitepaper describes the WHY, HOW and WHAT of continuous modernization for the CFO office to overcome challenges caused by legacy systems. 

WHY: As Gartner puts it“Spending large sums of money to update legacy systems, instead of implementing a continuous modernization program, does a disservice to your organization.” 

The CFO office today is faced with many trends and challenges, including the desire for self-service real-time analytics,  plus transparency and accuracy from shareholders, and of course new regulations. But holding it back are siloed systems and the need for a cultural shift. Traditional EPMs don’t address it and fall back on spreadsheets to bridge the gap between ERP and EPM. 

The key is enabling digital transformation and mining the powerful resource in the organization (the data) to empower the CFO office.  

HOW: To continuously modernize the CFO office requires a unified platform for EPM and Advanced Analytics. The process is to:

1. Get started (think big and start with small steps) 

2. Understand where you are now

3. Imagine where you could be (these are the tangible outcomes that make a business case for a move to continuous modernization in the CFO office)

4. Find How to get there (the roadmap, remember?)

5. Make your move 

Don’t forget to assess the risk of NOT doing anything. 

WHAT: A data-driven architecture needs to be able to capture both financial and operation data at a granular level to support both EPM and advanced analytics enterprise wide. Preferably owned by finance to be flexible and to act fast when changes occur. 

Marco van der Kooij helpfully points to the four digital technologies which will reshape the finance function. 

Start the journey of continuous modernization 

Once you’ve committed the journey, start by figuring out where you are and imagining where you could be. Define what is required of your CFO office. Do you have the tools and culture for continuous modernization and if not, how do you acquire them? 

Invest in unified software platform for EPM and Advanced Analytics. The optimal solution should consist of:  

  • One software package with the technical and functional ability to unify all processes in the planning and control cycle 

  • The collaboration tools to share insights based on the same set of master data without needing to copy these from one part of the software to another 

Technology is driving change and impacting the CFO office. Make sure you’re ready for the next steps and be sure they’re in the right direction. Get started to plan smarter, manage better and act fasterRead the white paper and start drafting your own roadmap.

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