In a Brainyard’s inaugural CFO survey, “State of the CFO Role“, the CFO’s no.1 challenge is “juggling too many responsibilities”. 186 CFO’s admitted that they are engaged with a spreadsheet for about 2.25 hours on average a day. Spreadsheet is time-consuming and still many CFOs had no choice most of the time.
Adobe Inc’s CFO Mr. Mark Garrett says “He is working on cutting Excel out of this process” He also adds that, “I don’t want financial planning people spending their time importing and exporting and manipulating data, I want them to focus on what is the data telling us”.
As like Mr. Mark Garrett, most of the CFO’s are aiming to adapt the change to improve accuracy, enhance productivity, unlock the power of data in real-time.
Several CFO’s who couldn’t completely move away from spreadsheets but working onto reduce the dependency on excel like Mr. Maurisse Johnson, CFO of Solutions Journalism Network. He stated, “I’m never going to move completely away from Excel”. “My dependence on Excel has lessened in terms of day-to-day manipulation, but there are instances where two disparate data sources need to be combined.”
Even many CFO’s like Christian Edoria, Director of Finance & Operations for Art in Action still love spreadsheets though willing to adapt transformation to save their time and invest it productively where real-time data can be leveraged to predict and forecast future scenarios more accurately. She says, “I love Excel to death, but I want to be flexible and adaptable to a changing environment – including anything that gets me away from the lines of a spreadsheet”. She also centralizing all her organizations data in NetSuite, where her team can perform allocation tracking real-time, which helped to understand all the costs that go into each art box that’s ship out.
Paul Jacobson, CFO of Delta Airlines says, “we’ve paid down over $10 billion of debt, which has reduced our interest expense by almost a billion dollars a year.”
To aim for growth, a CFO must balance the expenses to reach profitability. You need a more powerful tool that will give you more insights on how you save on costs and turn them into revenue.
Though CFO’s are best in managing cash flow and bookkeeping using spreadsheets like Christian Edoria, not everyone in your team. You know what? J.P. Morgan Chase lost over $2 billion due to a spreadsheet error, which was compounded because a single miscalculation was fed into other calculations due to staff’s embarrassing typo error according to Telegraph.
There are high chances of risks associated with tax compliance and regulatory requirements. What if the same error leads to penalties? A tax accountant omitted a minus sign when transcribed the net capital loss (of $1.3 billion) from the fund’s financial record to a spreadsheet. This turned the loss into a gain, causing the dividend estimate to be off by $2.6 billion. This caused Fidelity’s well-known Magellan fund forced to cancel a $4.32/share year-end dividend distribution.
A minor mistake in spreadsheets will ruin the CFO’s cash flow management efforts and end up losing clients, investor capital, shares. 44% of enterprise-sized company grapple with spreadsheet inconsistencies. Companies use only 50% of data available for decision making. Most cited reasons are
- Lack of Data
- Data Quality
Justin Doucette, CFO of restaurant management group were using excel spreadsheets and written queries to get reports. Justin started saving 10 hours a month through scalable automation on QuickBooks using Bison Analytics. The financial data insights allowed Justin to scale more with operational efficiencies. Now, the organization has expanded from 15 to 27 in numbers.
Similarly, Nadim Allidina, CFO of Generis Global Partners Corp use Quickbooks for accounting, ADP for payroll, and Office 365 for documents and collaboration. About a year ago, he adopted Salesforce to track revenue, and he also recently adopted Invoiced to automate his accounts receivable function. Now he’s looking to bring in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to connect everything into one integrated system. Allidina said, use of these cloud-based technologies is an imperative for growth, because he relies on them to achieve operational scale.
He also said companies failed to align operations with automation may face risks like couldn’t thrive the competitive challenges, labor costs, failing to meet customers & stakeholders expectations, Under-performance and slow execution
CFO’s must lead the automation efforts, especially in the finance function because you have to [consider the impact on] down-streaming users and how that will ultimately flow through and impact the P&L process, and all the internal controls surrounding finance.
To balance other challenges like managing cash flow, faster growth, generating timely reports and finding & retaining quality workforce, CFO may outsource certain functions to balance and keep the operations in right direction. Setting up automated invoicing, outsourcing payment collections & contract negotiation will enable CFO’s to focus on core priorities and relieve CFO’s from juggling into too many responsibilities. Every CFO must have to strike through a balance to keep on track. Automating your finance team and early adoption of digital technologies will help you stay on track.
The Park Intelli solutions is established in the year 2011 by Anand Jesudass, a pioneer for his uncommon vision. The strong foundation placed by his extraordinary business acumen and relentless determination has seeded the group with a strong set of values and fundamentals.
After the mighty success for other concerns in the past 9 odd years, Anand has held those values closer than ever, aiming more on its business objectives surpassing conventional archetypes and setting new standards.
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