Modern Finance
The CFO as Technology Evangelist
Executive Summary



Empowering Modern Finance: The CFO as Technology Evangelist is a research report
commissioned by Oracle and Accenture, in collaboration with Longitude Research, which
explores how modern CFOs are adopting emerging technologies within their finance
functions to enable new capabilities and transform the role of finance.

We also wished to assess the degree of technology enablement in the finance function versus
other lines of business, and to ascertain the views of C-suite and line-of-business executives on
how well the finance function is delivering on its new mandate to provide strategic guidance
and insights to the business. Among those finance professionals surveyed, about half were
CFOs and finance directors, while the balance were in direct report roles.

Participating companies’ revenues:

10% representing companies with revenues in excess of US$5 billion

41% had annual revenues of US$1 billion to US$5 billion

21% had revenues between US$500 million and US$1 billion

29% had revenues of US$250 million to US$500 million

*Due to rounding, the total may not tally to 100%

275 respondents in total. 975 senior finance executives and 300 line-of-business executives North America 21% Europe 52% Asia Pacific Middle East and Africa 15% 7% Latin America 5% . 3 ABOUT THE REPORT 1.

automating or outsourcing routine transactions whenever possible to focus on value-added activities that can differentiate and drive the business forward. 4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Today’s modern finance function doesn’t resemble the classic finance function of old. And modern finance is committed to operational excellence. working closely with other lines of business as strategic partners able to identify bottlenecks and opportunities based on facts. Empowered by data insights and collaborative new ways of working. leveraging its operational knowledge and analytical expertise to provide management with data-driven insight and forward-looking guidance on where to invest to drive innovation and growth. rather than just opinions. . Modern finance is service-oriented. Modern finance seeks to change the game. modern finance organizations are no longer content to focus on containing costs and keeping score.

. Through this in-depth analysis. 5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Modern CFO attitudes toward technology have evolved as well. and it makes sense that modern CFOs are increasingly viewed as technology evangelists by both their finance teams and other lines of business. With the benefits of cloud computing well established. CFO skepticism due to IT budget overruns and project delays has given way to greater enthusiasm as IT costs become more predictable and benefits are realized more rapidly. we identified four core tenets of modern finance organizations that appear to best describe the evolution of finance from its classic governance role to its new strategic mandate as a full business partner and value creator. Combine that with the growing impact CFOs can make using data-based insights to boost profitability along any number of dimensions.

They are committed to upgrading the skills of finance professionals with next-generation applications that have analytical. And a growing number of CFOs are sponsoring enterprise-wide transformation projects where finance can bring its operational knowledge. and budgetary discipline to bear on behalf of the business. mobile. and social capabilities into the workflow Committed to upgrading the skills of finance professionals with next- generation applications Recognize the value of digital technologies . Focus on embedding analytical. 6 MODERN CFOS ARE TECHNOLOGY EVANGELISTS Our research findings confirm that finance organizations across the board are making clear progress toward adopting the four tenets of modern finance: CFOs at the helm of modern finance organizations recognize the value of digital technologies for finance and the business at large. mobile and social capabilities embedded right into the workflow. analytical insights.

Grupo Fármacos . Without the cloud.” Ian Winham. Chief Financial Officer. You’ve got to make sure that you’re at the front end of technology and taking advantage of what that can deliver to the business. it’s about how do we add insight and value to the business? How are we always thinking about our stakeholders as a service organization? How can we give them the service they require? How do we make our processes more efficient and add value? And the final one is staying abreast of technology.” Otto Kroboth Palmer. mobile would be a difficult-to-manage platform and very inflexible. Executive Vice President. 7 MODERN CFOS ARE TECHNOLOGY EVANGELISTS “For me. CFO and CIO. Ricoh Europe “It’s about moving information out of the office and on to the street.

. better service through new tools and functionality to help finance be a more proactive business partner. More than two-thirds of executives surveyed claim to have either already adopted a cloud-based system in some part of their organization for core financials (24%). or are planning a road map for doing so (45%). and greater operational efficiency through the automation and digitization of finance processes. 8 MODERN CFOS ARE TECHNOLOGY EVANGELISTS More than two-thirds of respondents both within and outside the finance function 67% within finance function (67% and 68%. respectively) agree that the CFO is a strong evangelist for technology’s 68% outside finance function role within the finance function. CFOs are looking to the cloud to modernize finance: The survey respondents see more scope for the cloud to deliver new insights through advanced analytics and business intelligence.

9 MODERN CFOS ARE TECHNOLOGY EVANGELISTS CFOs are seen as technology evangelists. but a gap remains between ambition and reality: While 43% of C-suite executives believe that their sales organizations have adopted leading- edge technologies. only 20% of C-suite executives believe that their finance organizations do so. 43% 20% Sales Finance Senior management backs the vision—obstacle remain to adopting new technologies in the finance function Lack of Risks associated with integrating Lack of senior internal skills new systems and technologies management support 38% 44% 5% .

modern finance works hard to understand what is happening and why. 10 MODERN FINANCE DELIVERS INSIGHT AND VALUE TO THE BUSINESS Instead of reactively analyzing historical data and presenting static reports. . then provides proactive guidance on what actions to take to support broader business objectives. Some CFOs are empowering their finance teams with sophisticated analytical tools and modern applications with embedded business intelligence to enable this real-time. forward-looking planning and decision-making.

Red Robin The Power of Analytics 79% of respondents agree that finance is meeting or exceeding expectations in the delivery of real-time analytics for executive decision-making. Senior Vice President and CFO. . and so our goal is to exploit business intelligence and business analytics for better and faster decision-making and to make that a competitive advantage.” Stuart Brown. 11 MODERN FINANCE DELIVERS INSIGHT AND VALUE TO THE BUSINESS “The question is how many points can the finance organization help put on the board? You can only do that by helping the different lines of business become more effective.

strategies. embedding analysts into key lines of business to assist in analysis and decision-making. mobile. and collaboration tools to help them stay closely linked to the vision. 12 MODERN FINANCE ACTS AS A SERVICE-ORIENTED. drill-down reports that they can use to analyze information on their own as needed. STRATEGIC BUSINESS PARTNER Modern finance functions are both service providers and collaborative strategists. . and activities of their business partners. Modern finance teams also use the latest social. Modern finance also provides business unit managers with access to self-service.

42% view of performance against budget “falls below expectations” 23% “The beauty of the systems is that it allows the talented people with analytical skills to use their time in that area. Senior Executive Vice President and CFO. and they are at their best when they’re able to do their business unit support function. AT&T . STRATEGIC BUSINESS PARTNER 0% While Nearly 23% twice of non-finance as many finance respondents feel that respondents (42%) the ability of finance to think they could do provide an up-to-date far better. 13 MODERN FINANCE ACTS AS A SERVICE-ORIENTED. aggregating.” John Stephens. and assembling data. And we do have a very high-quality team. as opposed to their time collecting.

Modern finance automates or outsources routine transactions when possible to speed up the delivery of information and insights to the rest of the business. shifting more of BAT’s transactional processes into the shared services domain. 14 MODERN FINANCE HELPS TO ENABLE MAXIMUM OPERATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY Modern finance is committed to operational excellence across all service dimensions. and free up analysts to focus on higher value tasks. BAT has been able to reduce the number of systems in use from about 60 to just 11 over the past eight years. The goal is to put everything onto a single platform. By taking advantage of the software-as-a-service model. . the foundation of which is a common finance language that relies on standardized. globalized business processes and real-time data.

and 19% having just one. but more progress is needed: Although 30% of finance and line-of-business executives agree that their processes are still paper-based. there is a clear trend toward automating and digitizing processes. Similar progress has been made in the area of systems consolidation. consolidating systems and real-time reporting to drive operational excellence. How old is the data finance provides to the rest of the business? 1 month old 43% 7 days old 30% 1 day old 28% % of companies providing data . with nearly half now using mobile apps and 53% leveraging web-based systems. 15 MODERN FINANCE HELPS TO ENABLE MAXIMUM OPERATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY CFOs continue to focus on automating processes. with just over half of all companies owning five or fewer finance systems for their core financial transaction systems.

. It will find new ways to collaborate with the rest of the organization as a strategic business partner. Led by a new breed of CFO. 16 CONCLUSION: TOMORROW’S FINANCE FUNCTION The finance function of the future will be a radically different entity from that of the past. Just as finance was once a leader in automating early transactions. and driving the growth agenda through sharper insights from data. which are increasingly provided on a near real-time basis. tomorrow’s function will put greater emphasis on taking a forward-looking approach to the rest of the business. today’s CFO is reclaiming the mantle as a technology evangelist. while taking a far more service-oriented approach in its efforts.

Too many companies still rely on outdated data for key decision-making for example. not least due to the challenges of consolidating numerous disparate systems. And while there has been great progress in delivering insightful analytics to the business. through to smarter use of social media and the cloud. but it’s clear that much work lies ahead. tomorrow’s finance function will have to be far more automated and efficient. . Underpinning all of this will be a plethora of digital technologies. To free up capacity for this. 17 CONCLUSION: TOMORROW’S FINANCE FUNCTION Many CFOs are making major strides towards creating a technology-enabled finance function. this can be significantly improved. from mobile- enabled finance tools and leading-edge data analytics.

That means establishing a common finance language that everyone speaks. but also in discerning what. will be vital: As modern finance functions start to tap into big data. and when. from a standard reporting architecture and profitability measurement framework. particular insights will be most meaningful to other parts of the business and for driving value creation across the enterprise. They embed finance professionals into the lines of business to help interpret the numbers more efficiently. and uncover new growth opportunities faster. To measure profitability consistently across all markets. spending at least 40-50% of their time on line-of-business activities. Understanding what data matters. you need to get the baseline right. analyze profitability measures more effectively. and when. The finance function of the future will be a full-fledged strategic business partner and service provider: Modern finance organizations seek to set the growth agenda by providing finance guidance and support to management and lines of business. 18 KEY IMPLICATIONS FOR MODERN FINANCE Delivering insights and value to the business starts with establishing a common finance language: Modern CFOs are focused on using data insights to understand changes in profitability across multiple. to a common set of analytical tools and processes that everyone can use to analyze structured (internal) and unstructured (external) data and make rational decisions using a common information framework. Finance partners increasingly have operational experience and sales and marketing expertise to complement their analytical skills. products and geographies. . This partly relates to analysis. new types of expertise will be needed. different dimensions of the business.

Before automating. or through the delivery of new mobile. Leverage the cloud to make an impact: Identify where the cloud can make an immediate impact on your organization. whether that’s through standardization and integration of key processes. Look to integrated business services to help deliver higher-value services across the enterprise: With integrated business services. or integrated business services. 19 KEY IMPLICATIONS FOR MODERN FINANCE Yesterday’s transactional work will give way to more complex demands: To offset growing business complexity. think about how to simplify the processes first from end-to-end. the finance function can tap into internal and external resources to deliver high-quality and cost competitive services and solutions that address end-to-end business problems and drive value creation. centers of excellence. elimination of non-differentiating customizations that can reduce your cost of ownership. and their proximity to the business helps them share responsibility with the company for achieving business results. as integrated business services organizations become strategic partners to the enterprise. They can also help bring greater focus to process and organizational standardization. but also more of its middle-and front-office activities. then standardize and centralize them using shared services. social or analytical capabilities that can improve finance productivity and decision-making. Across a company and regions. companies should consider outsourcing or automating as many routine. non-value add transactions as possible. they can help revolutionize how a firm organizes its administrative and support functions. .

com Web: accenture.com oracle.com accenture. 20 CONTACTS Longitude Research Contact Oracle Contact and Coauthor Accenture Contact and Oracle Media Contact and Coauthor Anne Ozzimo Coauthor Danielle Cormier-Smith James Watson Senior Director.axson@ accenture.com Web: longituderesearch.houchen@ E-mail: david. Applications David Axson Corporate Communications Business Group Managing Director.com Web: oracle.com .com Accenture Media Contact Oracle Contact and Coauthor Accenture Contact and Barbara Lyon Dee Houchen Coauthor Senior Manager.a. Accenture Oracle Corporation Accenture Strategy Tel: +1-703-947-1838 Tel: +44 118 924 0484 Tel: +1-216-535-5123 E-mail: barbara.com Web: oracle.ozzimo@ E-mail: scott.com Web: accenture.cormier@ E-mail: james@ E-mail: anne.lyon@ E-mail: dee.com Web: oracle.com oracle.com longituderesearch.com accenture. Oracle Corporation Longitude Research Oracle Corporation Accenture Strategy Tel: +1-610-766-3463 Tel: +44 207 193 5214 Tel: +1-805-929-0135 Tel: +1-704-370-5328 E-mail: danielle.brennan@ oracle.d. Applications Scott Brennan Corporate Communications Editorial Director Business Group Managing Director. Senior Director.com Web: accenture.

21 CONTACTS Acknowledgements Thanks to all survey participants and to the following individuals in particular for their time and insights (listed alphabetically. CIMA (UK) . Global Data Manager. MetLife (US) Executive Vice President. Red Robin (US) Professor Andy Neely. Research (US) and Development. FSN Newswire (UK) and Analysis. by organization): John Stephens. CFO. and CIO. OLX (US) Jaroslaw Chrupek. Alliance (UK) Brian Bird. Akash Bhatia. British CFO. Ricoh Europe (UK) Peter Simons. Gary Simon. Senior Executive Vice Group Publisher. Cambridge Service Director Finance. Ian Winham. Shabbir Malik. Managing Director. Financial Planning President and CFO. Otto Kroboth Palmer. Stuart Brown. AT&T(US) Editor. Director. NorthWestern Energy Technical Specialist. CFO. Grupo Fármacos Senior Vice President and American Tobacco (Poland) (Mexico) CFO.

6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. Accenture disclaims. To find out more. comprehensive stage of the research process. and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture This document is intended for general informational purposes only and does not take into account the reader’s specific circumstances. audit or tax advice.longituderesearch. opinions or conclusions set out in this report. research findings. from capabilities across all industries and surveys and writing. Accenture: Copyright © 2014 Accenture. and extensive research project management. 2013. its logo. . with approximately manages influential and impactful thought center. The company generated net revenues of US$28. All rights reserved. Combining and media clients. regulatory. business functions. Accenture.com than 120 countries. visit www. to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law. Its home page is www. through to editing.com them become high-performance businesses and governments. technology services.000 people serving clients in more leadership projects on behalf of corporate (NYSE:ORCL).accenture. Longitude Research accepts no responsibility or liability for the information. and research business that produces and work together in the cloud and in your data outsourcing company.com Longitude Research: Whilst every effort has been taken to verify the accuracy of this information. nor for the consequences of actions taken on the basis of the information provided. any and all liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information in this document and for any acts or omissions made based on such information. and presenting on the world’s most successful companies. Readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel or other licensed professionals. Accenture does not provide legal. 31.oracle. visit Accenture collaborates with clients to help www. We assist with every unparalleled experience. For more information about Oracle 281. 22 CONTACTS About Accenture About Longitude Research About Oracle Accenture is a global management Longitude Research is an international Oracle engineers hardware and software to consulting. and may not reflect the most current developments.