The Institute of Management Accountants and cloud-based financial and ERP product provider NetSuite Inc. have released a 23-page report, offering insights into the greatest challenges faced by today’s finance organizations, along with the steps that companies are taking to overcome them.

The report, “Rising to the Challenge—Productivity in Accounting and Finance Organizations,” surveyed 1,726 IMA members who represent finance organizations across all different industries.

According to the report, the key challenges faced by finance organizations include streamlining processes and improving productivity in order to reduce costs and achieving gains in productivity through business processes improvement efforts. Other challenges include improving strategic activities such as planning, budgeting, forecasting, cost and profitability analysis, and providing performance scorecards and reporting.Finance organizations also face challenges running a global business efficiently; implementing/upgrading information systems; and connecting the finance team with the front office.

The research found that financial organizations most often achieve productivity gains through the use of improved technology and automation, while a substantial number of organizations integrate the various information systems within an organization. By doing so, according to the report, organizations also may be able to enhance their responsiveness to customers.

“An important mission of IMA is to deliver solutions-oriented thought leadership that's timely and relevant to the profession as a whole,” said IMA vice president of research and professor-in-residence Dr. Raef Lawson. “In particular, the need for accounting and finance professionals to evolve into more strategic roles within an organization is a longtime area of study for IMA. The findings of this research report demonstrate our commitment to these endeavors, as they will help our members and the profession at-large both to identify and meet their most pressing challenges.”

The report is available at http://www.imanet.org/PDFs/Public/Research/Netsuite_Rising_Challenge.pdf.