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CFOs and CIOs must work together to forge the future of finance

Craig Charlton, Senior Vice-President, Asia Pacific Operations, Epicor Software Asia | Nov. 26, 2015
A high-functioning IT infrastructure will help CFOs embrace new technologies, address the challenges of big data and meet growing user and customer expectations in order to stay ahead of the competition.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

There has been much written about the need for collaboration among Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs), but CIOs should also look to partner with Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to address a big opportunity for enterprise improvement.

CIOs are expected to innovate and provide tangible value and high responsiveness in order to remain relevant to the enterprise. However, CIOs cannot be expected to work in a vacuum. The CIO must be involved in other aspects of the enterprise in order to better provide the support needed for the enterprise to grow.

A study conducted by Epicor Software recently revealed the challenges facing CFOs and their relationship with IT. The study reveals the importance of technology to CFOs, opening the door to cooperation between the CFO and CIO. However, "It's complicated" was the general assessment of more than 1,500 finance business professionals in 11 countries, who were interviewed by Redshift Research Ltd.

One quarter of finance execs surveyed said their IT systems struggle to give them the info they need. CFOs said visibility of financial information is often less than perfect in many areas; only around half surveyed felt they have "good visibility" of financial information including: overall and business unit performance, product line performance and profitability, sales and labor costs, sales forecasts, raw material costs, and customer profitability; 1 in 10 said they have "poor visibility" in these areas.

CFOs need IT systems that provide accurate data and help them extract insight from that data, as well as tools to help them put their intuition to work in order to drive the business forward instead of filling the gaps. Half of the CFOs in Asia Pacific (see infographic attached) attribute business mistakes to a lack of information, or inaccurate information, while seven out of ten reported to still use spreadsheets to view their data.

More than one third of Asia Pacific CFOs say their finance systems need updating. Big-data emerged as a top issue, with 31 percent of CFOs polled citing it as an issue impacting the finance department in the next two to three years. IT investment (33 percent) and planning and forecasting (32 percent) are similarly challenging CFOs. If unresolved, this issue is only likely to get worse, as the pace and volume of information critical to financial decision making continues to grow exponentially.

A high-functioning IT infrastructure will help CFOs embrace new technologies, address the challenges of big data and meet growing user and customer expectations in order to stay ahead of the competition.

 

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