Chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance executives need to improve the quality of their organisations’ management information if they are to fulfill the ambition of updating their role and influencing senior decision-makers, according to a survey by CFO Europe Research Services for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
A survey of 193 finance executives at companies with annual revenues of $750 million (£375million) or more set out to establish how finance executives view the quality of the management information they produce, collect and distribute, and how well their organisations use management information to aid decision-making.
Top-performing companies are more likely to produce management information that incorporates external market information and that allows them to benchmark performance against competitors. Half of the top-performing companies surveyed say their management information includes predictive analysis and commentary, compared with one third of underperforming companies.
Underperforming companies report that their managers are less likely to trust reported data and take decisions less frequently in response to reported trends. These companies typically use spreadsheets as their primary tool for management reporting, rather than solutions such as data warehousing and specialist packages, used by most top-performing companies.
The study demonstrates that although CFOs and their finance functions across different companies vary in their ability to turn information into insight, they are united in their grasp of the importance of financial and nonfinancial information to the business, and their role within it.