BlackLine Blog

August 30, 2017

New Report: Modern CFOs Need Clarity To Innovate

Modern Accounting
1 Minute Read

Jim Buchanan

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Many of today’s CFOs are confused about how to best use modern finance technology, according to a recent report from FSN – The Future of the Finance Function Survey 2017.

The report covered more than 800 respondents from 23 industries around the world, and found a number of contradictions:

  • More than 80 percent believe that CFOs will be responsible for corporate data, but more than 60 percent admit they are struggling to master the variety and volume of new business data.

  • Three-quarters of respondents believe CFOs will play a greater role in finance innovation, but two-thirds admit they have too little time to spend on innovation and process improvement.

  • Some 78 percent say that decision making has become more data-driven over the last three years, but only 48% have managed to formerly identify how new data sources might be able to give them a competitive edge.

They Believe

Still, the report carries good news: it shows that CFOs believe in technology innovation. Greater than 80 percent see a convincing case for mobile business applications in the finance function, and fully half believe that by 2020 at least 80 percent of transactions will be processed in the cloud.

What’s holding back progress? Two things, according to the report.

For one, more than half of the respondents said they felt daunted by the prospect of moving off of their legacy systems.

Needed: Tech Clarity

For the other, CFOs are struggling to understand how to fit newer technologies into their departments. Only six percent said they felt comfortable understanding the technologies available to them today, and just 26 percent have the time to investigate opportunities for technology innovation. Meanwhile, 56 percent of CFOs say they struggle to find the internal resources to manage large technology projects.

These figures point to a need for clarification on new technologies, from vendors as well as consultants, and they underscore the value of technology products that can be installed and run with a minimum of difficulty.

As for the good news: CFOs feel like they are being taken more seriously by their own management. Fully 62 percent believe they are now, or are soon to be, playing an active role in board-level strategic planning and decision making.

Read the CFO Playbook: Finance Technology to gain a deeper understanding of today's finance solutions and how they can advance your accounting transformation initiatives.

About the Author


Jim Buchanan