Financial Priorities in 2016
The results of the 2016 Finance Priorities Survey from the Financial Executives Research Foundation and Protiviti is summarized in an assessment titled Maintaining Margins While Staying Vigilant. This survey gathered information from more than 650 CFOs, VPs of finance and other finance management professionals. The analysis presented five key survey findings that give insight into financial priorities in the upcoming year.
Margins and Earning Performance
Margin/earnings performance was listed as the survey’s overall top financial analysis priority. The Protiviti survey assessment says that in the upcoming year, “Ongoing economic volatility will place greater emphasis on organizational margin and earnings performance activities, as well as on overall profitability management and working capital management.” In 2016, look to see finance functions pay increasing attention to managing costs and profitability.
CFOs See Higher Priorities in 2016
Overall survey results show large company respondents see some priority index levels trending down. While this initially suggests “perceptions of a less-intensive year ahead,” responses from CFOs and VP-level finance executives paint a different picture. In their views, the priority levels have increased since last year in many cases, including cash forecasting, variance analysis, and accounts receivable.
As the world becomes increasingly dependent on technology, it’s no wonder cyber security concerns ranked very high on finance functions’ priority lists. The Protiviti report states that the chance of cyber attacks has proliferated enough in recent years to take it from a relatively low-level IT issue to a “strategic business risk … that resides near the top of the CFO’s agenda.”
Effective cybersecurity in the new year will require implementation of the right policies, stronger engagement from board members and financial offices as well as those in the IT department, and an understanding of the company’s most “valuable and sensitive data.” Cybersecurity concerns are one of the main reasons companies avoid automating the financial department, but security is a top concern for NextProcess as well. In fact, NextProcess is an SSAE-16 and HIPPA Compliant service provider, so you can rest assured that your data is being treated with best in industry security measures. With our software system, you can reap the benefits of automation without compromising your cyber security.
Accurate, Real-time Truth
Reliable data is always a top priority for financial departments, and that isn’t going to change in 2016. In fact, the Protiviti assessment predicts it’s going to become an even bigger focus as “finance functions want to develop better, more accurate and timelier data collection, data analysis, reporting, budgeting and forecasting capabilities.” The better information you’re getting, the stronger your overall businesses practice and future financial planning will be. This is another area where automation software plays a key role – with FP&A, procurement to payment all handled by one software system it’s easier to access real-time information about your company finances.
For an increasing number of businesses, the finance function is starting to lead strategic planning and performance management for their organization. In 2016 and the future, “CFOs and finance executives should expect the need to display leadership beyond the finance function to increase.” It’s also a good idea to work with human resources to expose rising finance professionals to more leadership opportunities.
Automation for the New Year
If your company hasn’t already invested in Business Process Improvement Software, 2016 is the year to get caught up. Switching from paper to an automated digital system will simplify your capital project management, procurement & purchase orders, accounts payable and other aspects of financial planning. Automation makes it easier to manage costs and track where the money is going, puts accurate real-time information at your fingertips, and can strengthen your cybersecurity. Contact NextProcess today for more information or to request a demo.