Connected planning enables CFOs to engage the organization


In October, CFOs and finance leaders gathered in Dallas at the Argyle CFO forum. Throughout the event, there was a clear message echoed by all in attendance: The role of the CFO is evolving rapidly, and finance is being called on to provide deeper visibility into the business and to strategically partner with the entire organization in providing more value.

Keynote speaker Sas Mukherjee, CFO and Strategy Officer of York Risk Services, noted that CFOs spend too much time doing the tactical blocking and tackling of transaction processing. This affords them little time to understand how to make sense of the data coming from other silos in their business, and leaves the majority of finance leaders to make important decisions based on “gut feel.” Mukherjee also noted that over 40 percent of CFOs miss their top-line forecasts by 7 percent or more (click to tweet). So how can CFOs evolve to better serve the business?

One example of how finance leaders can go beyond the tactical to strategically partner with the business came from Julian Potter, CFO at Arcis Golf. Julian, an Anaplan customer, says that finance should provide high-quality customer service, and must be constantly training and teaching the organization. CFOs can’t assume people in the business understand the role and responsibilities of finance, so it is imperative to lead the conversation and align everyone behind the CFO’s plan in order to achieve true company buy-in.

Having other business units involved in the plan through the use of shared data is important and keeps the CFO from being perceived as the “bad guy” handing out an arbitrary plan. At Arcis Golf, Julian uses Anaplan to give people a common, simple platform that provides visibility into the data that enables internal customers of the finance organization to participate in, understand, and buy into the plans from the CFO.

Each of the speakers and panelists agreed the changing role of the CFO requires them to spend less time sorting through data and more time understanding what the numbers tell them about the past and the future. Moving forward, connecting plans across the organization will simplify the standard blocking and tackling in finance, allowing leaders to better partner and strategically plan with the organization.

Connected planning throughout the organization encourages finance leaders to become the central source of truth and data in the business. Going forward, the CFO role will no longer be about getting the books closed; rather, it will be about analyzing all of the information coming from across the enterprise and charting a course for where the company can grow.

For more information on how your organization can connect plans and transform business performance, read IDC’s white paper “Connecting plans and performance.”

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