So just how busy and inundated are today’s finance organizations? Extremely so, according to our new study. Protiviti, in partnership with the Financial Executives Research Foundation, recently released the results of our 2015 Finance Priorities Survey. We’ll be exploring the major findings in greater detail in future blog entries. For now, I wanted to share with you our key takeaways.
- Cash remains king, as does cash clarity – Finance functions are striving to gain greater visibility toward the “cash” horizon by strengthening strategic planning, sharpening business and competitive intelligence, fortifying risk management, and honing forecasting. They’re also striving to ready themselves for challenges that may materialize, most notably by shoring up working capital management capabilities (especially cash forecasting) as a way to enhance organizational agility.
- More and improved analysis is paramount – Finance functions place more importance than ever on strategic planning, risk management, executive dashboards, profitability analysis and other strategic areas of financial analysis. At the same time, they continue to seek opportunities to improve the close process and transparency of the results to support financial analysis.
- There’s hunger for a more holistic approach – Rather than applying patchwork fixes to individual processes, finance functions want to manage and improve related processes in a comprehensive manner. Strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting rank among the highest priorities in the entire study, which demonstrates an intent to strengthen overall corporate performance management. A similar approach is evident in priorities related to working capital management.
- Getting the right talent in the right place is a formidable challenge – Complex regulatory compliance requirements and domestic tax laws, new accounting standards, looming changes on the international front (particularly related to transfer pricing), as well as emerging needs to analyze big data, challenge finance functions to find, attract and retain knowledgeable and experienced staff with the technical and analytical expertise to address these priorities effectively.
- Soft skills have hard value – Finance functions are placing greater emphasis on cultivating stronger communication, collaboration and relationship-building skills throughout their ranks.
You can check out our infographic below. I also encourage you to visit www.protiviti.com/financesurvey, where you can obtain a complimentary copy of our full report on the survey results.