At the crossroads of preparation and determination, one finds success. As we enter the last month of the year, 2016 is just weeks away, and you, as a CFO or finance professional, see hundreds of predictions and priorities for the upcoming year. So what are other CFOs saying is on their plate going into next year?
To answer this, Protivi and the Financial Executives Research Foundation teamed up to see what other chief financial officers were expecting in the coming year. The top five priorities?
- Margins, not market share
- More significant priorities on the horizon
- Cybersecurity in finance
- The quest for a single (and real time) version of the truth
- More leadership
“Margins, Not Market Share”
A quote from GM CEO Mary Barra, focusing on improving margins will be a primary driver in finance.
Margin and earnings performance ranks as the top priority across all groups of respondents, with 73% of all respondents seeing these priorities as high priority. Among CFOs, the number finding margins a top priority rose even higher, at 82%.
“With a modest recovery over the past few years, finance functions are preparing the enterprise for challenges that could materialize at any time by working to preserve margins and also by sustaining a strong focus on working capital management.”
With margins a top priority, gaining insight into how money is spent can help you to make more informed decisions regarding cost cutting and finding opportunities for improvement—improving margins.
Significant Priorities on the Horizon
While priority levels are trending downward throughout the entire organization, CFOs see a more intensive year in 2016. Nearly all CFOs see increased intensity across the board, with highest focus and increased priority on cash forecasting, period-end close, variance analysis, account reconciliations, and accounts receivable.
Cybersecurity: More than an IT Issue
An issue long considered IT-only, security and privacy should be and is a top concern for finance leaders. From a finance perspective, there are significant concerns regarding the security of financial information as well as the financial impacts of the security of all data.
While IT often takes the lead in addressing this risk, cybersecurity is now a top boardroom issue as well as an area drawing substantial time and attention within the finance function. Effective cybersecurity requires strong board engagement, the right policies, and an understanding of the enterprise’s most valuable and sensitive data.
Whether a large or small organization, taking finance to the cloud—especially with a best-in-class application—allows organizations to reduce “shadow IT” by improving usability and broadening the spectrum of partner apps that work with finance software. No complex workarounds or risky bandages caused by suites. For small organizations especially, utilizing a cloud application can allow organizations to gain security they couldn’t initially afford.
- Why User Experience Promotes Better Security
- Data Security: 5 Things Public Cloud Providers Do (That Your IT Department Probably Doesn’t)
- Cloud Security – 16 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Provider
A Single, Real-Time Version of the Truth
To help strengthen overall business performance and strategic planning, and to drive value from the financial data within an organization, finance functions want to develop better, more accurate and timelier data collection, data analysis, reporting, budgeting and forecasting capabilities.
These corporate performance management processes are used to perform profitability analyses tied to customers, products, operating units and geographies.
In financial planning and analysis, having the right information at the right time, wherever you are can make the difference between a decision that benefits your business and one that harms it. In our article, Winning the Financial Planning and Analysis Marathon, we highlight the top processes you need to consolidate and how you can improve by gaining a single version of the truth.
For even more, see how a rolling forecast can take the information you have and help improve decision-making now and in the future. Read Top 10 Ways to Make Rolling Forecasts Work for You, and Watch the webcast, Best Practices in Rolling Forecasts.
Leading the Organizational Strategy
The capabilities of the finance function to lead strategic planning and performance management for the organization are driving CFOs and finance teams to prioritize their internal leadership responsibilities.
To learn more about this report, including responses, conclusions, and other key findings, download the report from Protiviti.
To learn more on how the right software can help you to accomplish all of these priorities in 2016 and beyond, contact Brittenford Systems.