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Why Data Driven CFOs are the New Strategic Heavyweight

CFO | 16 January 2019

It’s a very fine balancing act the contemporary CFO has to walk. Not only must they maintain the most effective business possible, they constantly are looking to the horizon on how they can further provide value with strategic endeavors for their company. CFOs have increasingly proven themselves to be an integral component of driving economic growth, as the evolution of their role has dictated

“The quicker CFOs can uncover insights, the quicker they can make insight-driven decisions and take actions that can improve the company’s performance.”  - Brian McCarthy, CFO.com contributor.

Big data can be overwhelming to comprehend, but with technological advancements, it’s now being viewed by organizations as a strategic asset and breading ground for innovation. To break it down: analytics is the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data that can be transformed into actionable information. Data turns into something of value when it becomes information – information you can use to understand on where to guide the company. So while CFOs oversee the company's financial health, they’re now leveraging real-time analytics to make more impactful insight-driven decisions.And as companies big and small continue to adjust to market volatility, CFOs are being called on to provide expert advice to support these critical boardroom decisions.

The world of sports is now riddled with advanced analytics – stemming from the 2002/2003 Oakland Athletics baseball club that relied on data to drive their talent acquisition process under budget, (remember Moneyball?) Which is why the top companies are creatively employing this same strategy because of the linkages between talent assessment and contributions to performance.

How Data-Driven CFO’s are fueling economic value
"The two priorities for me as a CFO are developing the strategy for the organization as a partner to and member of the executive leadership team, and then funding and executing that strategy through financial planning and performance management," says Andy Campion, CFO of The Nike Brand.

Employing a data-centric vision will streamline the process towards not only improving your company’s overall performance but also make critical decisions backed by real-time insights.

Rather than relying on personal experiences or basic intuition, data fuels better decision making, mitigates risk and creates sustainable value – all without overspending. It also gives the CFO a holistic view of growth opportunities and to defend, differentiate, and disrupt in its market.

Transforming real-time data into actionable information
The role of the modern CFO is now stretching beyond handling the day-to-day financial operations towards being ingrained in every business activity. Looking at consumer behavior, market trends, employee performance and essentially determining how to allocate company resources in the most efficient way. All of which stems from how their fingers are glued to the pulse of big data.

With all that being said, it has to be easier for a finance department to prepare reports and allowing management to respond to performance problems or opportunities in real-time. CFOs need an intuitive platform that consolidates all this information and makes financial forecasting easier and provides a comprehensive view of the budget cycle. Data points are firing on all cylinders so there has to be a way to easily drill through multiple levels of report data for powerful and valuable information analysis and get more of what you need from your data.

The forecasting dynamic
Navigating the increasingly volatile global market is a landscape that is all too familiar for the contemporary CFO. They need to be able to react, adapt and easily pinpoint trends, and essentially witness the overall company performance in real-time. They need to be a strong financial leader and otherwise pinnacle to organizational success, but the value that CFOs can now create transcends the role they were traditionally linked to.

Strategic CFOs look to have instant visibility into resource requirements and future business performance, and with these insights, they can essentially create “what-if” scenarios to make smarter and more focused business decisions.This is the dawn of a new data-driven CFO that needs real-time visual access to all company data, information and results in order to thrive – and to remain strategic heavyweights within the market.

Financial management is critical to an organization’s success. Book a free demo of Limelight and discover how easy it is to produce budgets, forecasts and reports to ensure your long-term financial goals are met and to accurately depict the overall health of your company.

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