Getting on top of cash flow and mastering the potential of business intelligence top the list for CFOs and other finance executives as they look to the challenges of the coming year. So says a just-released study from global consulting firm Protiviti.
Protiviti’s 2014 Finance Priorities Report sought to identify the preoccupations of those finance bigwigs swinging the biggest bats by asking 220+ CFOs, vice-presidents finance, directors of finance and controllers more than 100 questions about their primary financial concerns for the next stretch. The questions honed in on five categories: process capabilities for financial transactions, process capabilities for financial analysis, emerging issues, technical capabilities and organizational capabilities.
The results reveal that the current crop of financial leaders is united in its pursuit of more efficient strategic planning, forecasting, resource allocation, budgeting and profitability analysis in a bid to respond more precisely, quickly and with more flexibility to the increasingly volatile global economic scene.
And among the most important identified trends the research unearthed about their plans to achieve this objective? For one, a recognition of the importance of efficiently managing cash flow and working capital. “Cash is king,” was the prevailing sentiment of more than one survey respondent.
For another, a major push among professional organizations to get a more effective handle on the performance and profitability of product and service lines, customers, customer segments and sales channels.
“Without question, more and more companies are looking to harness business intelligence and big data,” Jay Thompson, a managing director with Protiviti’s business process improvement practice told the media upon the survey’s release.
“[And they] want to analyze their data to gain an indepth understanding of their customers, products and other business areas in order to identify the best opportunities for profitability.”
To that revelation we say this: “Bring it on.”