We know that the role of the CFO continues to evolve, making the CFO more of a business advisor. But the transition doesn’t happen overnight. We looked at the highlights of a survey of over 380 finance executives by consulting firm Kaufman Hall and pulled out the top seven things finance executives need to do to further their transformation into business advisors this year.

1) Support decision-making

More than 70% of finance executives say supporting decision-making is their number-one goal for 2017, a divergence from the more traditional finance and accounting roles.

2) Do more with data

Over 90% of finance executives say they need to do more with the financial and operations data at hand to help top management make critical decisions.

3) Access data across the company

Finance executives are looking for ways to access data from across the company. The overwhelming majority of that data is management-level (75%) and operational (67%) information.

4) Improve reporting

Gathering actionable information from raw data may be easier said than done, however, about 90% of finance executives are unsatisfied with performance management reporting at their companies.

5) Be more agile

77% of finance executives are not confident about their company’s ability to maneuver past unforeseen business obstacles, due in part to outdated financial planning and analysis (FP&A) tools and processes.

6) Speed up budget cycles

The length of budget cycles is one of the primary challenges facing the FP&A function. More than 50% say they take longer than three months to complete a budget.

7) Streamline Excel

An overreliance on Excel causes a lot of problems for the FP&A function. Although they might not like to admit it, nine in ten finance departments say they’re still using Excel as part of their financial planning and budgeting system.

Smart finance executives are adopting modern, financial planning and analysis technology to help them accomplish these seven tasks (and more). As a result, they’re making a bigger impact on their businesses’ operations across the board, which is what every CFO strives for.

Limelight can help move you from backroom accountant to boardroom adviser.
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