Wednesday Apr 15, 2015

Finance and HR: A Marriage Made in Cloud Heaven

By Dee Houchen

What’s keeping CFOs up at night?

In conversations with chief financial officers, there are a number of business issues that are common across industries and geographies. One such issue—finding and retaining the best finance talent—is a topic that can dramatically impact the CFO’s effectiveness within his or her own organization.

Over the past several years, the role of the CFO has evolved from someone who keeps the books, to a more visionary and advisory role. Modern CFOs provide the essential reports, insight, and information needed to drive strategy around the boardroom table. This requires a new skill set—much different from the traditional accounting role. The best CFOs have learned to ask themselves the following questions:

  • How is the role of finance officer changing?
  • What sort of skills do finance professionals need today?
  • How do I attract and retain the best talent?
  • Do I have the right technology in place to keep my best and brightest engaged and intellectually challenged?

Wall Street Journal Custom Studios recently issued a report that addresses some of the above questions. Winning the War for Finance Talent: Game Plan for the Digital Age provides six recommendations on how finance leaders can improve bench strength within their own organizations. This infographic summarizes the report’s six recommendations:

  1. Recruit—and pay for—talent armed with a greater variety of skills.
  2. Fill talent gaps by grooming from within.
  3. Ask the right questions when analyzing data—you want answers that propel your business.
  4. Share data with your team or it has no value.
  5. Use technology and data insights to read your customers’ needs more accurately—making you a better business partner.
  6. Upgrade your technology to attract and retain the best and the brightest. If you don’t, you may lose gifted people to more modern rivals.

On the last recommendation, many finance offices are looking to the cloud to not only update their technology, but improve efficiency between finance and HR. A modern ERP and HCM cloud—with built-in social capabilities, data analysis and dashboards, designed for today’s mobile workforce—can provide the technology edge that CFOs need to attract, and retain, the best talent.

Read more in the recent articles, "How to Win the Finance Talent You Need" and "Turning Bean Counters into Difference-Makers: How Corporate Finance is Changing with the Times."

Dee Houchen is senior principal product marketing director for Oracle ERP Cloud.

Friday May 02, 2014

Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist

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

We are observing a tangible shift in the finance function. Modern technologies like cloud, mobile, and big data are helping to accelerate the current transformation of the role of finance. In order to gauge exactly where the finance function currently stands and what the future holds, we recently partnered with Accenture on a global research study, “Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist.”

As eWEEK summarized, the study highlights the opportunity for CFOs and other finance executives to be technology evangelists. I recapped this in my previous post, noting the ambition to be a tech evangelist is there, but a gap remains between aspiration and reality.

ZDNet explored this significant opportunity for CFOs. While there is consensus around the finance function leading business transformation, only a small majority is actually leading the way. However, steps are being taken. Baseline emphasized that finance professionals are now bolstering their technical skills while integrating analytical tools and modern applications.

But that’s not all. As Financial Executive discussed, the study also highlighted how the finance function is leveraging modern technologies, like mobile and cloud, to get real-time insights and to drive business transformation forward. In fact, 28 percent of respondents are already using the cloud to support budgeting, planning, and forecasting, and another 34 percent plan to move those areas into the cloud within the next year. That’s a lot of CFO love for the cloud, but I’m not surprised!

As evidenced by the study, the finance function is driving change and taking on the role of technology evangelist in organizations. I think this shift in finance will continue and CFOs will embrace modern technology to gain a competitive advantage and positively impact the bottom line. 

Wednesday Apr 23, 2014

Oracle's Leadership in Finance Award Nominations Now Open!

Now in its third year, Oracle’s Leadership in Finance Award is quickly becoming the award of choice for visionary finance executives who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in leveraging Oracle solutions to transform their businesses. Last year’s global winners were honored by Oracle Chairman Jeff Henley at the CFO Summit @ Leaders Circle, and shared their success on stage and in these videos: AT&T CFO John Stephens (North America), Ricoh Europe CFO Ian Winham (EMEA), Grupo Fármacos CFO Otto Kroboth (Latin America), and National Australia Bank Finance GM Gary Lennon (APAC)

Customers, partners, and Oracle employees are urged to submit their nominations now for the 2014 Leadership in Finance Awards before nominations close on June 20, 2014. CFOs, controllers, chief accounting officers, and VPs of finance from North America, EMEA, LAD and APAC are all eligible for consideration, as long as they were directly involved in the success of the Oracle solution deployed. Full details and submission guidelines are available on the Oracle Excellence Awards home page.

Award winners will be announced the week of Oracle OpenWorld and will be honored once again by Jeff Henley at the 2014 CFO Summit @ Leaders Circle.

Please email comments about this story to

Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Using Technology to Ease the Pressure Cooker Environment of the Modern CFO

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

The finance function as we know is seeing big change.  We've been talking about this transition here at Oracle for quite awhile. Last year in a survey Oracle conducted with Accenture we explored how the role of the CFO has evolved from financial overseer to corporate strategist and change agent. The results from that study illustrated that this transition is not only happening, but it’s happening very quickly.

We’ve entered into the era of Modern Finance. Not only are CFOs depended on to  drive the finance function forward, but increasingly they also play a vital part in all strategic business decisions.  In fact, it’s fair to say that today’s CFO lives in a completely different environment than five years ago. Put simply, CFOs live in a pressure cooker environment.

With the pressure to help identify new opportunities, products and services that will deliver growth and generate revenue, the modern CFO is undoubtedly presented with challenges and must leverage existing and new assets to deliver on the new mandate to provide strategic guidance and insight to the business.

How can CFOs meet these challenges and stay ahead of their competition? One thing that comes to mind is technology.

Technology enables CFOs to drive change and innovation. Mobile, cloud, social and analytics are just a few types of technology that are completely revolutionizing the way organizations function. Implement these technologies and organizations can gain a significant competitive advantage.

CFOs are beginning to understand this and how technology can drive change within their organization that positively impacts revenue. For example, take the cloud. The cloud is reshaping finance best practices around buying decisions as organizations duke out the ROI of cloud versus on-premise. Cloud technologies save on overhead costs with less infrastructure, timely updates, and more productive employees.  

Modern Finance will be empowered through technology and CFOs are taking note.

For more information about the changing role of the CFO and best practices for keeping pace with the ever-changing landscape, visit Oracle CFO Central at

Wednesday Oct 02, 2013

Cloud Financials, Enterprise Social Networks More Attractive to CFOs

Finance departments are ready to exploit today's potentially disruptive cloud, mobile, big data and social technologies to transform how they do business, in part by using social networks to collaborate more effectively. That was the message of "Empowering Modern Finance," a panel at the Oracle OpenWorld conference held last week in San Francisco.  If you missed the OpenWorld panel discussion, check out the summary published on TechTarget.  Read full article.

Friday Jul 12, 2013

The CFO as Catalyst for Change

A guest post by John O'Rourke, Vice President Product Marketing, Oracle

Over the past few months, we’ve taken a microscope to the role of the CFO. The changing economic environment is creating new demands and opportunities for CFOs around the world. At Oracle, we are committed to helping CFOs navigate and succeed, and recently partnered with Accenture on a global research study, “The CFO as Catalyst for Change.”

As the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Journal summarized, the study highlights the evolution of the CFO’s role from financial overseer to corporate strategist and change agent. I discussed the main findings in a previous blog post, but wanted to share some great insights on the study from industry influencers.

InformationWeek’s Doug Henschen discussed the increasing role CFOs are playing in the technology department, highlighting the similarity between what has also been happening with CMOs. I think the CFO’s role in technology decisions can have a bigger impact and is worth noting.

Without a doubt, CFOs are taking technology seriously! CFO Magazine highlighted the skills perspective in their article on the study, pointing out that when asked about where CFOs could improve their skills and capabilities, technology knowledge was ranked second only to industry knowledge. Now, that’s saying something!

But they are not just focusing on ways to enhance their knowledge base -- CFOs also understand the importance of new technology. A Wall Street & Technology article on the study stressed how CFOs are increasingly citing disruptive technology as critical for success. In fact, 79 percent of respondents viewed access to information as a key driver of organizational agility, while 57 percent viewed investments in big data and analytics as a key source of competitive advantage.

The study shows that the role of the CFO has dramatically changed and it continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Now, CFOs must be catalysts for change and help their organizations transform and thrive in today’s global economy. 

Tuesday Feb 26, 2013

Know a CFO using Oracle that deserves recognition at Oracle OpenWorld 2013?

Oracle's Leadership awards recognize exceptional executives who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and technology vision in the successful deployment of Oracle products and services to simplify IT, power innovation, and drive transformational change in their respective lines of business or entire organization.

Winners will be selected based on the impact of their leadership on a transformational IT project, the uniqueness of their business case, the degree of innovation in the solutions and change management methodologies employed, and the business benefits realized to their respective lines of business or entire organization.  An example includes CFOs using performance management or business intelligence solutions to identify new revenue or cost-saving opportunities. Award recipients from North America and Latin America; Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific will be honored at Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco 2013.

Nominate your qualifying CFO for the Leadership in Finance Award now at

Thursday Sep 13, 2012

The 2012 Gartner-FEI CFO Technology Survey -- Reviewed by Jeff Henley, Oracle Chairman

Jeff Henley and Oracle Business Analytics VP Rich Clayton break down the findings of the 2012 Gartner-FEI CFO Technology Survey.  The survey produced by Gartner gathers CFOs perceptions about technology, trends and planned improvements to operations.  Financial executives and IT professionals can use these findings to align spending and organizational priorities and understand how technology should support corporate performance. 


Listen to the webcast with Jeff Henley and Rich Clayton - Watch Now »

Download the full report for all the details -   Read the Report » 


Key Findings

  • ·        Despite slow economic growth, CFOs expect conservative, steady IT spending.
  • ·        The CFOs role in IT investment has increased again in 2012.
  • ·        The 45% of IT leaders that report to the CFO are more than report to any other executive, and represent an increase of 3%.
  • ·        Business analytics needs technology improvement.
  • ·        CFOs are focused on business analytics and business applications more than on technology.
  • ·        Information, social, cloud and mobile technology trends are on CFOs' radar.
  • ·        Focusing on corporate performance management (CPM) projects, 63% of CFOs plan to upgrade business intelligence (BI), analytics and performance management in 2012.
  • ·        Despite advancements in strategy management technologies, CFOs still focus on lagging key performance indicators (KPIs) only.
  • ·        A pace-layered strategy for applications is needed (92% of CFOs believe IT doesn't provide transformation/differentiation).
  • ·        New applications in financial governance rank high on improving compliance and efficiency.

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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