February 2016

They sound like the names of hot new apps or mobile games for your phone: Sunburst, Whisker, Treemap. For hard-core fans of Microsoft Office, however, they represent a wave of new opportunities to get even more out the financial spreadsheets businesses use to make decisions every single day.

Earlier this month the team at Microsoft published a blog post outlining a whole series of new chart styles that will be available in Excel 2016. Although technically anyone can use spreadsheets for whatever they want, the chart styles were created specifically with those working in finance departments, business analysts and other corporate professionals in mind.

“Most business owners seek to better understand their finances to ensure their success. However, understanding and communicating your gains, losses and balances by viewing financial statements can be challenging,” the blog post read. Continue reading Just How Pretty Does Financial Data Need to Be?

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If you’ve been working in a large business long enough, you know that ERP stands for “enterprise resource planning,” but if you work in an area like Finance, you might prefer to think of it as “extra reporting pain.”

That’s because, as great as the wares from SAP and Oracle are – and they too have decades of success to prove it – a lot of the data extraction from such systems is still often manual. In fact, that was one of the key pieces of cautionary advice recently published by consulting firm Deloitte. In a post on the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Deloitte suggests that many companies don’t get nearly as much out of their ERP investments as they should. It boils down to a variety of factors, but one of the biggest was similar to what you hear in many other large-scale IT projects: insufficient change management. Continue reading The Cloud Advantage for ERP Users Everywhere

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin

For the last couple of decades, financial experts and executives around the world have pointed to the same fact: the annual budget is well past its useful life, and companies who incorporate a rolling forecast, experience markedly increased revenue and profitability, smarter and faster decision making, and greater shareholder value.

As Gregory V. Milano and John R. Cryan of Fortuna Advisors said in a recent article:

The annual budget may be past its useful life. If most companies stepped back and assessed whether they’re really earning an adequate ROI from their budgeting processes through superior decision-making and optimal resource allocation, we believe, many companies would curtail their current practices.”

Yet despite decades of evidence pointing to a greater return on investment when implementing rolling forecasts, some companies are still using the outdated tool of the annual budget.

Historically, new and innovative ideas, no matter how efficient, always encountered obstacles and skepticism, even when old practices don’t produce desired results. Whether a company’s hesitance to adopt a rolling forecast is due to misinformation or fear of innovation is a subject for another day. In the meantime, if you’re still on the fence, these are the top five reasons the annual budget is losing to the undoubtedly better rolling forecast: Continue reading The Top 5 Reasons the Annual Budget is Losing to Rolling Forecasts

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Every company wants the best people. Whether they can afford them is another matter.

This is at least prevalent within finance departments, apparently, where competition for the right talent is running so high that pre-emptive bidding wars are being launched. According to a recent survey of CFOs by recruiting firm Robert Half, 54% of respondents said they had offered a candidate more money than their previous employer:

Robert Half offered some suggestions for CFOs such as using benchmarks and offering more vacation time, but that may be only part of the strategy. As organizations’ needs around data and insight evolve, they’ll need to work very tactically to not only recruit but retain the skills that differentiate them. 

Four important things to consider:  Continue reading The Four Things to Consider Before your Next Finance Department Hire

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Most CFOs are pretty clear about their top priorities: making sure revenue and costs are well balanced; being accurate and up-to-date in any information that’s shared with the executive team; and making sure they get the most out of ERP.

Wait, what?

Yes. According to a recent survey from consulting firm KPMG, the CEOs of companies may have some areas of focus for that their financial chiefs might not be expecting. For example:

While 70% of CEOs at “top-performing organizations” said leveraging cloud-based ERP systems and other emerging technologies should be a top priority for finance chiefs over the next few years, only about half said their CFO is doing a good job of exploring and implementing the best new technology. Continue reading The ERP Imperative in a Data-Rich World

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