Nearly three-quarters of the CFOs at midsized companies say they are under pressure to reduce costs and make faster decisions, according to a new study.

The global study by IBM found that many CFOs believe external economic, industry and regulatory pressures will increase over the next three years. As a result, more than half of the 1,900 CFOs and senior finance executives surveyed believe they have to make major changes to respond.

CFOs of midsized businesses are being called more frequently into high-level discussions around demand and price pressures, business model changes, information strategy and resource allocation. Over 75 percent say they have an advisory or decision-making role on the entire company agenda.

"Midmarket CFOs and their finance organizations are taking a much more prominent role in corporate decision-making," said IBM midmarket general manager Marc Dupaquier. “This makes it all the more important for these CFOs to be able to provide insights into their companies’ financial data and suggest strategies that will help advance their companies' agendas.”

The study found that over 40 percent of the companies surveyed produce financial metrics manually, and finance spends over 50 percent of its time on transactional activities. Fifty percent lack a common planning platform; 36 percent lack a common reporting platform; and nearly 60 percent are not satisfied with their operational planning and forecasting analytical capability.

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