Global CFO Survey Results Reveal a Shifting Focus for SAP Customers
Finance’s most pressing priorities include FP&A, security, cloud applications driven by organisations leadership
Findings from Protiviti’s latest Global Finance Trends Survey reveal that SAP customers are adjusting their finance priorities at the behest of their CFOs. The focus is shifting from pandemic trends, such as accelerated digitalisation and remote work, to strategic planning combined with strong leadership to accelerate their finance transformation progress.
CFOs and finance leaders are being driven to reevaluate their focus by global economic concerns, such as inflation and other business factors. Amid shifting priorities, they still recognise the importance of the basic tenets of security and analytics in their push to migrate legacy applications into cloud-based systems.
As ﬁnance professionals prepare for the potential challenges of 2023, they are indicating that they have many other concerns including leadership, proﬁtability reporting and analysis, ﬁnancial planning and the impact of inﬂation. Those last few items illustrate that concerns about inﬂation are impacting CFOs’ priorities and are driving a push towards improving planning and analytics, as well as developing the right leadership to address associated challenges. Leadership will have to be able to understand the impact of the changing costs of goods and how best to address them in the market.
Other priorities – all equally ranked at 70%
- Enhanced data analytics
- Routine reporting and closing activities
- Process Improvement
- Challenges with regulations
- Transaction planning and readiness
- Changing demands and expectations of internal customers
CFOs can address many of these issues with the many tools and technologies SAP provides including S/4HANA, SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BTP for AI/ML capabilities that can help CFO’s address many of the priorities listed in the graphic and the list above.
The Impact of Inﬂation
Other highly rated concerns highlight the importance for organisations to prepare for the future and to ensure that appropriate planning tools are in place to help the enterprise become future-ready and contend with soaring inﬂation and rising interest rates.
It also is imperative for organisations to rethink and establish more accurate proﬁtability analysis. Planning and analysis need to be well aligned to allow quick and better decision-making capabilities.
As organisations weigh the impact of rising costs of goods and capital, it will be key to maintain focus on the various levers available to help navigate the changing circumstances. These actions coupled with the right data and analytics and planning strategies can help to drive better results and agility through the challenges organisations will likely face in the coming months.
Automation and process improvement
A majority of CFOs and VPs of Finance – 70% – rank automation and process improvement as a top priority for the ﬁnance organisation over the next 12 months. Automation clearly is top of mind for the CFO as the role expands beyond the purview of traditional ﬁnance activities into areas such as ESG, talent management and supply chain, among many others. Due to this shifting of responsibilities, it is becoming imperative for CFOs to commit to ongoing transformation and the implementation of advanced automation and emerging technologies. CFO’s can leverage tools available from their SAP system to enable both automation and process improvement including SAP S/4HANA's inherent Process Automation, robotic process automation (RPA), built-in artiﬁcial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). For example, SAP’s SAC Planning tool can enable transformation for ﬁnancial planning and analysis (FP&A) processes by integrating sales and operations forecasting, providing comprehensive variance analysis capabilities and integrating management and consolidated reporting across the organisation.
Key actions that will help drive successful automation and process improvement initiatives:
- Frame ﬁnance transformation as a set of concrete strategic objectives and incorporate digital opportunities into the business plan to achieve these goals over the long term.
- Identify which ﬁnance processes should be eliminated, added or redesigned prior to automating or digitising them with the help of the best available systems or tools.
- Continually monitor the ﬁnancial and performance insights and analyses that internal business partners, executives and the board need.
- Keep tabs on the digital maturity and expectations of share-holders, regulators, partners and other external stakeholders.