This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but, as Oxford Economics recently pointed out, effectively controlling spending is key to boosting performance and efficiency. The surprise, perhaps, is in how CFOs are doing it.
Or maybe we should say how they’re doing it differently.
Oxford, along with SAP and Concur, conducted a global survey of 1,500 finance executives to see what separates the leaders from the number crunchers, asking: "What do top financial performers do differently from the rest of their peers?"
Six traits floated to the top:
- They have strong influence beyond the finance function.
- They drive strategic growth initiatives.
- They improve efficiency with automation.
- They are very effective at core finance processes.
- They collaborate regularly with business units across the entire company.
- They work closely with governance, risk and compliance, and are well-equipped to handle regulatory change.
Read the report to learn more about how effective spend management boosts performance.
Getting a tighter grip on costs by letting go of manual processes
All six points are invaluable, but automation seems to stand out—especially in regards to efficiency and, ultimately, performance.
As the paper shows, companies with 5-10% revenue growth are twice as likely as slower-growing companies to strongly agree that automation improves finance function efficiency.
These same companies are also more than twice as likely to rate themselves as “very effective” at T&E expense management and working capital optimization—which (again not so surprisingly) happen to be two of the top three most important business goals, trailing only risk management/compliance.
Or, to put it more clearly, as David Craig, CFO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, is cited in the paper as saying:
“Automation takes dreary, repetitive work away from staff, and the shareholder benefits because the organization is more efficient.”
Another fine performance by the cloud
You can’t have automation without embracing technology, and again, that’s what these top CFOs are doing in earnest. 95% of them, in fact, consider cloud-based applications as critically or very important to successful financial performance.
Eighty-eight percent of financial leaders using these apps say they are extremely useful for managing T&E costs. And among those who rely on Big Data analytics, nearly all say they help manage T&E expenses.
And as a financial expert yourself, you know that the numbers don’t lie.
See how financial leadership pays off. Download the full Oxford Economics report.