The CFO as Technology Evangelist

Guest post by Karen dela Torre, Vice President, Oracle Corporation

Finance has historically been at the forefront of technology adoption.  Earlier technology investments focused on process efficiency and standardization. After all, closing the books faster and keeping costs down are table stakes. Today, finance is increasingly called upon not just to contain costs and keep score; modern finance seeks to change the game by providing the business with data-driven acumen on the best ways to drive innovation and growth. So how is modern finance using technology today to meet these new demands?

To provide more insight on how to define and benchmark the key attributes of the modern, technology-enabled finance function, Oracle partnered with Accenture to sponsor a global research study conducted by Longitude Research. The study, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist,” features insight from 1,275 CFOs, senior finance executives and line of business executives from organizations of varying sizes and industries around the world.   

And while the study clearly shows that many CFOs are making major strides towards creating a more productive and technology-enabled finance function, it’s clear that much work still needs to be done. In particular, here are a few key takeaways I wanted to highlight:

CFOs are seen as tech evangelists, but a gap remains between ambition and reality:

· More than two-thirds of respondents agree the CFO is a strong evangelist for the transformational potential of technology.

· Nearly three-quarters of finance executives believe new technologies such as the cloud, mobile technology and social media will change how finance is structured and run.

· But, and it’s a BIG BUT, only 20% of C-suite executives believe their finance organizations have adopted leading-edge technologies.

New skills and analytics capabilities are needed to execute on modern finance’s mandate:

· Nearly half of respondents saw an increase in the number of finance analysts hired over the past two years.

· 23% of non-finance respondents feel that the ability of finance to provide an up-to-date view of performance against budget “falls below expectations” and 42% think they could do far better.


CFOs are embracing the cloud to modernize finance:

· 28% of respondents are already using the cloud to support budgeting, planning and forecasting, and another 34% plan to move those areas into the cloud within the next year.

· More than two-thirds of executives surveyed have either already adopted a cloud-based system in some part of their organization for core financials (24%), or are planning a road map for doing so (45%).

For more information, you can find the press release and the full report here. If you’d like to hear the findings discussed in more detail, make sure to tune into the webcast on March 19 at 12:00 noon ET. The webcast will feature Oracle Chairman of the Board Jeff Henley, Scott Brennan, managing director in Accenture Finance & Enterprise Performance, and Stuart Brown, senior vice president and CFO, Red Robin International, Inc. To register,  visit: http://pub.vitrue.com/ZTgI
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Focusing on solutions for the Office of Finance, this blog will highlight key financial management market trends, events and other news of interest.

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