Finance projects often fail, but they don’t have to

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Nearly 87 percent of the most recent projects undertaken by financial executives failed to meet either their original timeline or scope, according to a new report.

The report, from Financial Executives International’s research affiliate, the Financial Education & Research Foundation, and Kaplan Financial Education, was unveiled Tuesday at FEI’s Current Financial Reporting Insights conference in New York. The report, Failure to Launch: How Financial Executives Avoid Failure and Plan for Success, found that nearly 30 percent of projects failed to meet both their intended timeline and original scope. Overall, the FEI members who responded to the survey cited team member time constraints and the lack of allocated resources as the two largest contributors to project failure. Lack of resources allocated to the finance suite represented the biggest constraint in project management. Team members, team leaders, sponsors and stakeholders named the availability of team members as the biggest challenge of their most recent project.

FEI and FERF along with EY also presented a second report at the conference, Data: The Strategic Asset, discussing how financial professionals are using a data strategy. The report found that more than 80 percent of organizations surveyed view data as a strategic asset, but 60 percent of respondents have not considered the organizational impact of poor quality data.

“Data transformation is necessary for businesses to modernize their financial functions and to thrive within today’s professional environment,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, president and CEO of Financial Executives International and the Financial Education & Research Foundation, in a statement. “For some companies, as much as 80 percent of their staff’s time is spent compiling and organizing data prior to any analysis even being done. That is a massive productivity investment that can be better deployed elsewhere assuming the right data strategy is put in place. With this report, FERF aims to help financial leaders understand what goes into such a successful plan—from the people you hire to the tools you use.”

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