There are a number of challenges business leaders face when it comes to good financial planning – with concerns around business agility, inefficient reporting and long budget cycles all standing in the way of quality decision making.
In a recent CFO survey, shockingly, more than 50% of CFOs said it took them longer than three months to complete a budget. Additionally, only 23% of respondents
had confidence in their company’s ability to manage uncertainty,mainly due to outdated financial planning and analysis tools and processes.
Using old, inflexible tools, such as Excel, can present difficulties when linking multiple sources of data and rapidly responding to business changes, but it’s not just obtaining data that provides challenges. In a survey conducted by Quantrix – featuring
CEOs, CFOs, controllers, CIOs and IT managers from business-to-business and business-to-consumer organisations – 42% of respondents reported that the number of requests for ad-hoc/“what-if” scenarios has increased dramatically as businesses attempt to respond
to ever-increasing uncertainty.
In the same survey, CFOs said that the ability to produce better dashboards and visualisations would greatly improve productivity and agility. Whilst data visualisation tools are often seen as the secret to unlocking a company’s hidden potential, investment
in the latest and greatest visualisation alone, without good understanding of the models driving the data, can prove counterproductive.
The simplicity of any visualisation is vital when allowing a complex dataset to be understood, however, in many cases, the model driving the data simply does not serve good decision making. For data-driven decisions to be effective, the underlying model
must provide a realistic and accurate picture of the true state of affairs, regardless of the visualisation. This is particularly true in the case of forecasting.
CFOs are increasingly turning to business advisors in an attempt to help top management make critical decisions. In survey by CFO magazine, 90% of respondents said they need to do more with financial and operational data to gain critical visibility across
their operations. Failing to do so could impact their ability to compete in an ever more competitive market – so, for this reason, many are considering powerful financial planning and modelling technology solutions, to augment other investments
such as data visualisation and business intelligence software.