Having launched our Q2 Roundtables on Technology and the CFO, three different themes emerged as a clear focus for each of the three East Coast markets where we hosted Roundtables.
We kicked off this series in the Philadelphia market, where the focus was on data analytics. The attendees agreed that the finance function does not necessarily need fancy systems to figure out what data they have. The key is to find quality resources and people and utilize them in the best possible way. Technologies are important - but its imperative to have the right people behind them. Key traits that CFO Alliance Members in the Philadelphia area look for are curiosity, intuition and eagerness to be a team player. When it comes to data, the finance team should strive to spend more time on data analysis vs. data mining. Companies should strive to implement an 80/20 rule: 80% of time should be spent on analyzing data, with 20% of time gathering the data. Currently - this is the opposite for most companies. The goal is to understand the marriage of business needs, as well as finance leads.
The key theme discussed in Washington D.C. was efficiency. The focus on technology allows for the truth in the data. In order to most efficiently utilize data, the effort must be enterprise wide. Finance knows where the data is, technology/IT gathers and analyzes the data, and marketing communicates and displays the data in a clear and concise way. With so much data and information available, it is critical to cut through the noise and identify what data the enterprise absolutely needs to run their business successfully.
The key theme for our New York Roundtable was effectiveness, specifically the effectiveness of the people in the finance function. Attendees discussed that seeing the big picture across functions is very important; employees across the enterprise need to have a clear vision for where the company is headed. In order to help employees to be more effective, they must be able to access information and data efficiently, and in a scalable way. Employees need to learn how to translate data to tell the story and present that story through Powerpoint slides, which requires strong communication skills. There will always be employees in a company who will be resistant to change, who would prefer to resort back to old habits when implementing new technologies. The key here is to find the balance between adopting the new versus the old.
Each of these three themes, data analytics, efficiency and effectiveness, plays a critical role in shaping the future of finance. Next week, The CFO Alliance Q2 Roundtable Series will hit the western part of the country. We will be in Denver and Orange County on May 15th, San Francsico on May 16th and conclude with Chicago on May17th. What will the CFO Alliance Members in the West identify as their key themes of focus when discussing the future of the finance function? Stay tuned for these takeaways!
Interested in attending a Roundtable next week? Reach out to me at (215) 433-1800 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.