Today’s chief financial officers recognize the business case for digital and cloud technologies, according to a new Oracle and Accenture global study, though a gap remains between their technology evangelism and reality.

The study, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist,” was co-sponsored with Longitude Research and surveyed 1,275 CFOs, senior finance executives and line business executives from organizations of varying sizes and industries around the world (including 300 of whom were senior non-finance executives).

More than two-thirds of respondents agree the CFO is a strong evangelist for the transformational potential of technology and nearly 75 percent of finance executives believe new technologies such as the cloud, mobile technology and social media will change how finance is structured and run. On the other hand, only 20 percent of C-suite executive respondents report that their finance organizations have adopted leading-edge technologies, contrasted with sales organizations, which 43 percent of those respondents believe have done so.

“Empowered by data insights and collaborative new ways of working, modern finance organizations are no longer content to focus on containing costs and instead are looking at new ways to deliver insight and value to the rest of the business,” stated Karen dela Torre, vice president of the ERP application business group at Oracle. “While the study highlights how finance executives are increasingly leveraging operational knowledge and analytical expertise to provide data-driven insight and forward-looking guidance on where to drive innovation and growth, an important gap still remains between aspirations and reality.”

More than a quarter of respondents (28 percent) are already using the cloud for budgeting, planning and forecasting, another 34 percent plan to move them into the cloud within the next year, and more than two-thirds have already adopted a cloud-based system in some part of their organization for core financials (24 percent) or are planning a road map for that purpose (45 percent).

“CFOs today are creating modern finance organizations that are adopting the cloud and other disruptive technologies to realize the power that digital can wield and help propel the enterprise forward,” stated Scott Brennan, a managing director of Accenture Strategy in Finance & Enterprise Performance. “This study shows how modern finance leaders can help craft corporate strategies that drive profitable growth.”

Meanwhile, about 30 percent of finance and line of business executive respondents say their processes are still paper-based but nearly 50 percent report using mobile apps and 53 percent web-based systems.

In terms of barriers to growth, only 5 percent of respondents report a lack of senior management support as a problem in adopting new technologies in the finance function. Instead, 38 percent cite lack of internal skills as a key barrier.

The report, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist,” is hosted by Oracle here.


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