Only 19% of CFOs have automated nearly all their finance processes and are currently handling financial reporting digitally, said Workday recently when releasing results of a survey of more than 260 global CFOs.
With the majority of organisations in the midst of digital transformation, CFOs also reported gaps in their data, ultimately affecting performance over the past year, the technology company noted.
The lack of data to make critical business decisions impacted product launches, according to 28% of CFOs, with 24% citing missed financial forecasts, and 17% citing misaligned resource investments, survey results indicate.
Other key findings, according to Workday, are as follows.
- Execution during COVID-19 was significantly impacted due to lack of accurate data. Nearly half of CFOs (49%) say their organisation’s biggest gap over the past year was the ability to execute with accurate, timely data that drives quick, informed decisions.
- As a result, over the past year CFOs prioritised investments to close the data gap. When looking at investments, 50% of CFOs said they made the most progress over the past 12 months closing the data gap by prioritising intelligent data foundations (creating a single source of truth for finance, worker, and operational data) and advanced analytics for better decision making.
- Looking ahead, CFOs are prioritising cloud and machine learning investments over the next one to three years. Nearly two-thirds of CFOs (60%) are investing in reimagining finance operations in the cloud and deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions to address finance digital transformation.
- Beyond technology investments, environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) as well as diversity and inclusion (D&I) are emerging as business priorities. ESG (29%) and D&I issues (26%) are listed as the emerging topics that businesses are most focused on prioritising beyond technology — ranking higher than cybersecurity and cryptocurrency.
The lack of insights during the pandemic resulted in missed opportunities for companies to drive top and bottom line growth across a variety of areas, said Barbara Larson, senior vice president, Accounting, Tax, and Treasury, Workday.
“The real gap CFOs identified was not just data — but timely, decision-ready data,” Larson pointed out.
She recommended the adoption of a cloud-first intelligent data platform that brings financial, people, and operational information together in a single system.
“This not only fills the gaps but provides the foundation required to help deliver actionable insights and competitive advantage,” Larson noted.