Finance executives are bouncing back from the recession with a new focus on business expansion with the help of technology such as mobile devices, according to a new report.
The report, from KPMG and CFO Research, found that CFOs plan to concentrate on growth and new services, leveraging their planning, information and analytics capabilities. The renewed focus comes after the economic downturn, when many companies cut down on their technology spending, and after many businesses spent the past decade ensuring compliance with financial reporting and corporate governance requirements, as well as cost reduction initiatives.
“We are finding that CFOs want to empower their finance organization and their C-level peers to make better business decisions aligned with a broader enterprise strategy,” said KPMG financial management partner Don Mailliard in a statement. “Years of technology spending have yielded a continued struggle for insight, and now CFOs are looking for a different approach that will help them gain that insight and convert it to action.”
The research found that many CFOs are evaluating new performance tools, cloud technology, and consolidation of systems as part of their expanded enterprise strategy. In addition, nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents expect to continue the adoption of mobile devices in their organization over the next two years.
However, many CFOs admitted to feeling challenged by the need to quickly integrate their operations into dynamic technology environments amid increasing security concerns.
“Mobility is a game changer for many of these organizations as a viable alternative for their most critical information,” said KPMG enterprise performance and analytics partner Xena Ugrinsky. “In order to achieve long-term success in this environment, CFOs and CIOs are modernizing existing information systems to allow knowledge to flow to new devices.”
The survey found that CFOs are at a pivot point in their organization and have to better leverage their role as strategic information leaders to bring these aspects of their operations into sharper focus. Nearly two-thirds of the CFOs surveyed felt their enterprise technology platform is duplicative and complex, and that financial and performance information used for decision making is not as useful as it should be.
“It is not a surprise that CFOs are now seeing these technology enhancements as imperative,” said KPMG U.S. technology leader for management consulting Stephen Chase. “Many organizations are realizing that subpar technology could be a considerable inhibitor to growth and business expansion.”
As CFOs look to increase insight across the enterprise, their relationship with the CIO organization is now more important than ever. This partnership can help an organization adapt to the challenges of embracing new technology at a fast pace while maintaining shareholder value creation for the business.
“We are at a critical convergence of old and new technology where an organization needs to be confident in their data and focused on outcomes,” said Chase. “CFOs and CIOs can work as a team, focus on the business strategy and goals, evaluate the information lifecycle and the related technology and ultimately enable the flexibility required to expand their business.”
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