Shared services governance among top priorities for finance executives
Global consulting firm Protiviti has conducted a study to identify the priorities, capabilities and key areas of focus for today's finance professionals. The 2012 Finance Priorities Survey has found that shared services governance, and improving business and competitive intelligence capabilities rank among the top priorities for finance professionals.
Ryan Senter, a managing director with Protiviti, said: "Finance departments appear intent on moving their shared services organizations beyond a 'lift and shift' approach to a more mature strategy that expands the scope of business services and increases overall efficiency for organizations."
The study was comprised of more than 100 questions in three categories: process capabilities (including financial transaction and financial analysis activities); technical capabilities (including competencies related to regulatory compliance); and organisational capabilities (personal skills). Respondents were a range of finance executives, including CFOs, vice presidents and directors of finance, from virtually all industries with the most represented sectors being financial services and manufacturing. Over 40% of respondents were employed by companies with $1bn or more in annual revenues.
The report indicates that finance professionals are balancing strategic activities with complex transactional issues. In the financial analysis section, competitive intelligence came out as the top area of focus, with business intelligence and executive dashboards coming in at a joint second. According to Protiviti, this indicates that finance professionals are being tasked with strengthening overall intelligence capabilities in order to give teams a greater mix of holistic and actionable insights, both internally and externally.
The study also found that strengthening financial risk management is an important focus in the current economic climate and staff are also under increased pressure to make traditional, transaction-heavy processes as efficient as possible in order to allow more time for financial analysis and business-decision support activities.