C-Suite, Step up to the Plate

C-Suite, Step up to the Plate

To an outsider, it might seem like the CEO is the sole proprietor of a company, or that the C-suite is all lumped together to perform the same tasks at varying levels of expertise. But to those actually in the C-suite, the differences between positions couldn’t be starker. These differences come together to serve the company in different ways. Just as the players of a team all have varying talents to win the game, the C-suite functions as a team where each position is critical to success. CEO, the Coach The CEO is the face of a company. She is the one connecting the things her team is doing on the field or court with the people in the stands. The CEO could also be called the quarterback, the star forward or the standout pitcher. He is the one shouldering the responsibility of the company and ensuring everything is being accomplished in a manner that reflects his and the founders’ mission. He calls the plays, inspires the players, and has a significant role in winning the game. As legendary management guru Peter Drucker told The Havard Business Review in 2004, “The CEO is the link between the Inside that is ‘the organization,’ and the Outside of society, economy, technology, markets, and customers. Inside there are only costs. Results are only on the outside.” But as any other C-suite executive and any casual sports fan knows, the CEO and the coach, or star player can’t do it all by himself. He is an essential piece to the game, but not the only piece. That’s why his relationships with the other...
Can CFOs Create Culture to Improve Strategy?

Can CFOs Create Culture to Improve Strategy?

There’s a reason so many companies value their culture above other business factors. Corporate culture is often the cornerstone of success. When employees are happy and productive, the company has the opportunity to thrive. As important as culture is, it is not usually associated with the financial side of the company, so in turn CFOs don’t concern themselves with contributing to positive...
Is Your Finance Team Getting Data Fast Enough?

Is Your Finance Team Getting Data Fast Enough?

The finance department has long been rich in data. Ever since the widespread automated financial activity through the adoption of ERP, financial decision-makers have had a wealth of information at their disposal. However, as the last few years and the wave of “big data” have taught us, raw information on its own doesn’t equate to actionable insight. While financial activities like budgeting, forecasting, and reporting have traditionally been a natural fit for analytical technologies, proving a sound business case for implementing such tools has never been trivial. These days however, the case is clearer. In order to exploit the power of analytics and improve performance, companies have become more mature and rely on internal capabilities including. Open (and secure) cross-functional data exchange. Finance leaders have a heightened need to reach into a wide variety of data sources and functions across the company. Best-in-Class organizations have an open exchange of data across functions to help enable and enrich financial analysis. Established policies for governing / controlling enduser data access. Before a company can unleash its analytical potential, it is necessary to put controls in place to make sure the right people are accessing the right data. Best-in-Class financial executives are 65% more likely to have these controls in place. Data exploration and discovery tools. Traditional reporting tools will always have their place in finance, but today’s business leaders understand the value of exploring data, developing analyses, and answering their own questions. Top companies are twice as likely as all others to use data discovery tools With a strong foundation of capabilities such as these, and a judicious use of technology, companies that have developed a formal analytical strategy are enjoying the fruits...
Scale vs. Growth for the Midsize Enterprise

Scale vs. Growth for the Midsize Enterprise

Getting bigger and adding new team members, new resources, and new opportunities is, in many minds, the most obvious indication of success. It means your business can sustain more than it originally set out to handle. Growth is an excellent goal for a small business, but by the time an organization reaches mid-market size, growth is far less important than scale. Knowing the difference between these two objectives can be the defining factor for the CFO of a midsize company who wants to make a lasting impact. Growth is reflected by increases in revenue and resources at the same rate. Scale is the increase of revenue with no change in cost to the business. For a midsize enterprise, scale is a better goal than growth. Financially, scaling up allows a company to increase profit without expending any other departments beyond their means. There is less sacrifice involved with scale, and it can help a company making between $10 million and $1 billion each year stand out among competitors. A company’s ability to scale is often correlated with their future growth. Mid-market enterprises have maintained stable growth in recent years, comprising one-third of employment and total GDP in the U.S. As a McKinsey report stated, “A company whose revenue increased more slowly than GDP was five times more likely to succumb in the next cycle, usually through acquisition, than a company that expanded more rapidly.” To sustain scale over growth, CFOs must consider a few important approaches to company strategy, finances, and culture. Avoid Tunnel Vision One of the most defining features of a mid-market enterprise is its intimate knowledge of its customer...
Centralizing the Financial Data Story

Centralizing the Financial Data Story

Data was supposed to solve everything. Once professionals figured out how to mine the data being generated by customers and business operations, the insights gained were supposed to instantly solve problems and streamline processes. And while data has greatly contributed to these types of transformations, it has also muddled the role of the CFO. A new survey conducted by CFO Research revealed that many CFOs still struggle with managing the data of financial planning and analysis intended to help their companies. In a nearly even split, CFOs either complain about not having enough data (32%) or having too much (30%). This disparity shows how the value of data mining on the financial side of an organization has varied depending on the systems, the CFO, and the intent of analysis. Regarding the future of data analysis, almost all CFOs (94%) agree that up-to-date and instant data is the only way forward. With this expectation creating more corporate pressure for actionable insights, CFOs need to find a way to collect the data they need, whether it’s more or less, and how to write a cohesive story with the results. Knowing Where to Look The biggest areas where CFOs are and should be using analytics include assessing customer risk and behavior, compliance and regulation, and evaluating the fluidity of their future operations. Many CFOs struggle with analytics, because they are using them to address all these different areas with a single set of data. The solution to centralizing how data is used is to apply only the appropriate data to the corresponding areas. Using customer behavior data to address compliance concerns would...
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