How the Office of Finance Can Become a Strategic Forecaster in Professional Services Firms

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The Digital Disconnect

Technology is revolutionising the finance function within many Professional Services organisations, enabling the Office of Finance team to progress from a back-office accounting role to an enabler of corporate change and opportunity. To turn data into strategic action, the chief financial officer (CFO) should help enact a culture change within the department, repositioning it to involve more future-gazing.

While that may sound like a simple task, Richard Hilton, managing director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at Miller Heiman Group, explains the reality for CFOs in the boardroom.

“Data analysis is integral to the CFO’s role of forecasting and meeting the business’s strategic goals,” he says. “However, some have been stuck making business decisions tracking on the quarter behind.”

Mr Hilton says that while reflection on past events can be useful, techniques now enable data to be viewed as a driver for future corporate behaviour.

“We’re seeing marginal movement to this way of working, but CFOs really need to be pushing business units to collect real-time data so they have an up-to-date view of how the company is operating” he explains.

“To get them on board, they need to demonstrate the value it will deliver to them too, otherwise it’s viewed as an admin job, with CFOs consistently struggling to get accurate data;

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