As CFOs have a bird’s eye view of most of the company’s data, all C-level members—chief executive officers, chief technology officers, and even chief creative officers—have started seeking more strategic advice from finance executives. They inquire about profit growth and innovation opportunities, request analytical support to drive profit strategies within their own non-financial roles, and often seek general support for their creative ideas.
The role of CFO is changing in a big way, and you can either get on board or fall behind.
Here’s what’s really driving this shift—a passion for technology paired with comprehensive and intuitive analytics. Finance professionals who use this combination take their company to a new level in a very noticeable way. Grab the attention of the rest of the C-suite with these three strategies for uncovering actionable insights for business improvement within your existing company data.
1. Use technology to drive insights and innovation
Finance and tech may as well be joined at the hip in this day and age. As robust analytics become the cornerstone for businesses seeking profit growth, innovative CFOs continue to find new ways for technology to make their processes faster and more efficient. Implement lean tools that will help you find opportunities for strategy improvement and weed out ineffective and cost-heavy practices. Seek out technology capabilities that include comprehensive pricing, sales, customer, margin, and operational analytics.
By championing this type of technology, forward-thinking CFOs launch themselves ahead of the competition and become a major influence on the rest of the C-Suite. The more data-driven decisions and strategies you have in your back pocket, the better you can support your peers. Lead them with a strategic data-first mentality to minimize risky gut decisions and push your company toward sustainable profits.
Don’t forget to exert your influence outside of the C-level. Empower your teams—sales, marketing, pricing, customer service, operations, and human resources—to build their own strategies based on actionable insights found within their data. Arm them with the technology they need, and watch your company grow stronger and more profitable.
2. Get to the bottom of your bottom line
Many CFOs can’t accurately identify drivers of margin changes in their business because there are just too many variables involved. These finance executives can’t point to the specific margin impact of their latest price increase or product launch. As the team member most responsible for the company’s bottom line, this is a problem. You need to know what’s going on and be able to articulate it quickly and effectively.
Influential CFOs demand relevant and crucial answers about business performance from their analytics solutions. To emulate them, adopt software providing in-depth margin and operational analytics that eliminates the need for averages and plugs. Again, emphasize the importance of this kind of data analysis to all of your teams. Their success is your success, so give them the technology they need to impact profitability in big ways. Encourage them to identify strategy improvement opportunities and uncover potential revenue streams on their own.
3. Get in the cloud to get to the top
Impressive hardware is so 2005. These days, successful finance executives are prepared anywhere, anytime, and this means having data at their fingertips, not stuck back at their desk computer. If you’re still bogged down with clunky, slow hardware-reliant business analytics software, it’s time to find something new.
Due to recent technology leaps, cloud-based solutions are just as robust and powerful as the enterprise counterparts they replace and still provide the on-the-go analytics finance teams need. They’re usually more nimble, cost-effective, and secure than traditional solutions. Cloud-based software also has the added bonus of minimizing involvement from your IT team by eliminating the need for expensive on-site deployments and regular upgrades.
Enterprise-level, hardware-dependent tools are a thing of the past. If you want to show the rest of the C-level what a profitable future of your company looks like, start with a cloud-based technology upgrade.
Dev Tandon is the founder and CEO of The Kini Group (https://thekinigroup.com), a cloud-based business analytics company.
An expanded version of this article will appear in an upcoming edition of Exchange magazine.