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March 2014

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Modern CFOs Adopt Emerging Technologies to Deliver Innovation and Growth Strategies

Exclusive new research commissioned by Oracle and Accenture identified fundamental shifts occurring in today's modern finance function. Empowered by data insights and collaborative new ways of working, finance organizations are capitalizing on their operational knowledge and analytical expertise to implement game-changing strategies designed to help management successfully invest in innovation and growth.

Through this data-driven approach, modern finance organizations are also working as strategic partners with other lines of business to identify bottlenecks and opportunities based on facts, rather than just opinions.

The findings are presented in "Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist," a research report written in collaboration with Longitude Research. It explores how modern CFOs and finance executives are adopting emerging technologies within their finance functions to enable the development of new capabilities and to transform the role of finance.

Data from a survey of global CFOs and C-level decision-makers benchmarks the key attributes of the modern, technology-enabled finance function. In addition, Longitude Research interviewed CFOs who have sponsored large-scale transformations to understand how technology is enabling their finance teams to have a stronger impact on enterprise strategy and growth.

CFOs Encourage Change
This in-depth analysis identifies four core tenets of modern finance organizations.

  • The modern CFO is a technology evangelist.
  • Modern finance delivers insight and value to the rest of the business.
  • Modern finance acts as a service-oriented, strategic partner to the business.
  • Modern finance helps enable maximum operational productivity and efficiency.
The cloud is playing an integral role for modernization, serving as a trigger that prompts companies to review their back-office systems. Twenty-four percent of the executives surveyed have already adopted a cloud-based system in some part of their organization for core financials, while another 45 percent are planning to do so. Even higher proportions are adopting cloud-based budgeting, planning, and forecasting systems.

The survey also uncovered a clear trend toward automating and digitizing processes and consolidating systems. The result is that 28 percent of the companies represented now provide data that is never more than one day old, while 30 percent have data that is never more than seven days old. However, there is still room for improvement–42 percent still deliver data that is a month old or more.

Challenges Remain
While there's a strong push for progress, these executives also see challenges to modernization, including a growing need for finance talent with business and analytical skills.

Read the full report for details about the strides progressive CFOs are making toward a technology-enabled finance function. And explore what Accenture suggests as the best practices and next steps to exploit the trends that are fueling modernization efforts.
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