In an earlier blog I explored whether being a CFO is a popularity contest – those of you who have not yet read this can do so here. I nudge you in this direction, not because I am deluded enough to believe that everything I write is essential reading (when it so clearly is not), but because this blog and that blog are related. 

If being a CFO is a popularity contest (and this is debatable), financial performance is the key to winning. However, an awful lot of things can contribute to the financial performance of a company; the success of the CFO is one of them; their attitude towards digital technologies is another. 

After talking to CFOs about the latter for the past decade, IBM has amassed a significant amount of data, and its analysis (and extrapolation) of this has the potential to provide some significant insights. One of these is that their attitudes towards analytics software can make CFOs more effective. 

The important word is ‘can’; which is not the same as ‘will’. There are no guarantees; nor is there any shortage of finance managers and CFOs who appear to be living the dream (you can read about a few of them in a recent FSN article here). But IBM’s ‘Performance Accelerator’ CFOs share more than their exploitation of analytics. 

They are more likely than other CFOs to: focus on continuously improving processes and developing finance talent, create a service delivery framework to guide the design, development and operation of key financial processes; and use a standalone, cross-functional shared services centre for transactional financial activities. 

The list goes on. They are more likely to: spend time developing new business models and handling acquisitions and divestitures; work in a company with a seamlessly integrated physical-digital strategy; understand and collaborate with customers more extensively than other CFOs. 

The most significant characteristic of the ‘Performance Accelerator’ may be that they operate much more efficiently than other CFOs – because this impacts on them, the finance function and the financial performance of the business. You may or may not agree? Why not pop over to the FSN LinkedIn group and join the debate.

  • 2015-04-21 15:39:38
  • Lesley Meall
  • CFO, Financial Performance