New Finance Agenda

Today's CFO/Finance agenda - Six major focus areas for top finance/accounting executives

When I was at the American Accounting Association conference a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear several of the keynote speakers. Karen Watts of Corefino spoke about several new challenges for CFOs. She identified the following the challenges that should be of interest to ERP and financial/accounting software users and vendors:

1) Emergence of the strategic CFO – This trend continues to gain momentum. More than ever, CFOs are eyeing the CEO chair. They can’t move up if they’re still pre-occupied with journal entries and other transaction aspects of finance/accounting. The most strategic CFOs are more attuned to operations, collections, shareholder relations, M&A and other more strategic business needs.

2) Driving the business to leaner and more efficient operations – Benchmarking and process excellence disciplines are still popular in back office functions simply because there are still opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of finance processes.

3) Escalating regulatory complexity – Regulation isn’t going away. It’s getting more prevalent. The challenge for CFOs and CEOs is to possess a single GRC (governance, risk and compliance) framework and not a collage a multiple, conflicting GFC products.

4) Need for more fraud discouragement mechanisms – Fraud is not going away either. The fraudsters are often more clever and approaching their craft from new angles (e.g., internet based, corporate identity theft, etc.).

5) Current IT models (e.g., on-premise solutions) are breaking business budgets – The on-premise model for ERP is expensive. The cost of software maintenance, especially the user maintenance cost, is expensive. SaaS, especially the true multi-tenant solutions, may be a better choice.

6) Need for new experienced, value-added hires to enter the Finance organization – The future of Finance may require a new breed of worker who is more technologically and business savvy. Clerking, filing and matching skills will be outsourced and off-shored. Business analytic skills will be de rigueur.

While I may not have captured Karen’s sentiments exactly, her points are right on.

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