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CFO’s role becomes more strategic

Anuradha Shukla | May 28, 2013
Changing role evident in new Oracle and Accenture study

The role of chief financial officer (CFO) has become more strategic and influential over the last three years, according to a new survey by Longitude Research co-sponsored by Oracle and Accenture.

A survey of 930 CFOs from organisations across the world of varying sizes and industries shows that the role of these professionals has become more strategic and influential over the last three years.

CFOs are now in the position to drive change across the whole organisation, and their role is not limited to the finance function.

Seventy-one percent of respondents agreed that overall level of the CFOs' strategic influence has increased over the last three years and only 34 percent said they play a leading role in strategy formulation.

"As this study shows, CFOs realise that while their role has evolved, there is still scope to expand their influence within the business and further utilise their unique skill set. Technology can play an important part in helping CFOs realise this potential and we hope the insights delivered in this report can help facilitate that process," said John O'Rourke, vice president of product marketing, Oracle.

Challenges to reaching potential

Although the role of CFOs has become more strategic over the last couple of years, 37 percent of respondents find the economic environment as a challenge that stops them to reach their strategic potential.

Thirty-five percent of respondents are challenged by a shortage of time and 31 percent of respondents find it difficult to deal with the lack of integration between the finance function and other parts of the business.

The research also reveals that some CFOs are afraid that further cost cutting could endanger growth. Eighty-four percent of the respondents agreed that cooperation with their CIOs increased during the past three years, and seventy-nine percent viewed access to information as a key driver of organisational agility.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents believe investments in big data and analytics are a key source of competitive advantage. Survey respondents expressed concern over the cost of maintenance, the cost of integration and the lack of integration between systems.

"The importance of robust analytics capabilities that deliver the insights to underpin performance management, inform senior management decisions and foster innovation to stimulate growth cannot be understated," said Scott Brennan, a managing director in Accenture Finance & Enterprise Performance. 


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