Financial Operations

November 25 , 2014

Oracle reveals global best practices for CFOs to manage modern finance

San Francisco, CA--Modern technologies such as cloud, social, mobile, and big data are changing the competitive dynamics of the global economy. Organizations that know how to create digitally enabled business models leveraging modern technologies are thriving; leaders who continue to invest in traditional business models powered by legacy systems are putting their companies, employees, and shareholders at serious risk. To help CFOs master digital transformation, Oracle partnered with Financial Executives International (FEI) to identify the modern best practices that will help CFOs and their finance functions flourish in the Digital Age.

News facts

  • Oracle partnered with FEI's Research Foundation (FERF) on a new research report that explores the technology and change management best practices CFOs are adopting in the Digital Age to create modern finance organizations.

  • The report, ‘ Modern Finance in the Digital Age’, was developed based on in-depth interviews with more than 20 leading CFOs, finance executives, and domain experts from across all major global geographies.

  • The best practices are focused on ensuring that CFOs are better equipped to assume their new role in driving more agile, technology-enabled business models and stronger C-suite collaboration.

How CFOs can transform core responsibility areas with modern finance

  • reporting and compliance :

    • Adopt a modern, technology-enabled close process.

    • Speed ‘right-time’ decision-making using standardized processes and a strong data governance model.

    • Leverage the cloud strategically to modernize finance. Using the cloud enables CFOs to redeploy the capital they save on IT maintenance and hardware to fund new business opportunities and makes it possible to reassign IT staff to work on technology-led innovations.

  • Measure and respond:

    • Leverage big data and advanced/predictive analytics to continuously refine and test business models and value propositions with customers.

    • Ensure that everyone is making decisions based on the same source of high-quality data.

    • Invest in a platform that is designed to deliver information to decision-makers, whether it's an always-current dashboard available through secure login on a mobile device, real-time alerts when certain parameters or thresholds are triggered, or some other means of quickly and effectively visualizing and consuming data.

  • Plan and predict:

    • Replace complex, disconnected spreadsheets with modern planning applications. Look for modern functionality, such as mobile and collaboration, that makes it easy for business users to get up and running.

    • Drive planning across the enterprise from various lines of business to exploit the "wisdom of crowds."

    • Reduce reliance on the annual budgets and leverage best-practice methodologies such as driver-based rolling forecasts that enable planning at the speed of business.

  • Procure to pay:

    • Implement self-service procurement (‘eProcurement’) to control off-contract spending.

    • Streamline purchasing with digital technologies that provide visibility and control overspending.

    • Automate payables with digital technologies, such as e-invoicing and supplier portals, to deliver touchless transactions.

  • Project Financial Management:

    • Use analytics to proactively monitor the health of projects in real time.

    • Standardize processes and data to ensure a single source of project truth across the enterprise for better analysis and reporting.

    • Deliver real-time information via mobile and social tools to facilitate decision-making and project success.

  • Change Management:

    • Secure an executive mandate for change, starting with the CEO.

    • Simplify and standardize processes and procedures as much as possible before embarking on a major transformation.

    • Build an expertise in creating a culture of change management.

  • Return on investment (ROI):

    • Use predictive analytics instead of lagging indicators to rethink ROI on digital technologies.

    • Look at strategic outcomes rather than just operational improvements to assess how digital technologies impact the business. There should be a more flexible allocation of resources as processes are automated and streamlined, as well as the ability to attract and retain talent using the latest social, mobile, and analytical capabilities.

    • Consider a more focused ROI analysis for a better measurement of return in specific areas that have a specific strategic outcome.

Supporting Quotes

  • "Modern CFOs are embracing their role as business catalysts and technology evangelists, but finance organizations are often the last to digitize operations," says Karen dela Torre, vice-president, Oracle Applications. "CFOs need to digitize finance in order to successfully execute on new strategic mandates as digital change agents. This research helps identify best practices for the key process areas critical to any finance function."

  • "CFOs must recognize the value of a holistic approach to digital transformation that can drive both operational savings and the flexibility needed to change business models or shift in and out of markets," says Oracle vice-chairman Jeff Henley. "Those who master digital transformation across the enterprise are not only helping fulfill their mandate as the stewards of corporate value, but also placing themselves in a better position to assume a greater leadership role in their organizations."

  • "CFOs are the collaborators and responsible for aligning all the other C-suite executives to make sure that there are no gaps in strategy, decision-making, or execution. No one really touches all parts of the enterprise the way the CFO does," says Keith Kravcik, executive vice-president and CFO, Ovation Brands. "To stay competitive in today's market it is imperative to implement best practices, like the ones outlined in this report, to drive value creation and organizational excellence."

  • "Previous technology studies we have conducted indicate that the CFO's influence on IT and technology investments is rapidly increasing," says Marie Hollein, president and CEO, Financial Executives International and FERF. "In today's digital age, it is imperative for the IT function to become more strategic and align with corporate goals and objectives. FERF's research with Oracle provides a comprehensive guide of best practices in the application and use of new technologies for CFOs."

Supporting resources






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