Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Today’s Chief Financial Officer has the most strategically important position in a company after the CEO. A CFO typically has responsibility for multiple departments, complex process chains, and turbulent day-to-day business that is dominated by three central themes: transparency, speed, and compliance. These three categories cover most of the key aspects of finance and controlling.
There are few topics that fall outside these areas. On the one hand, this is good news, because it suggests that targeted measures in these areas generate the greatest added value. However, given the significant entrepreneurial dependencies in these areas, a lack of suitable concepts or the introduction of concepts that fail to take hold can soon lead to a competitive disadvantage.
This is a crucial factor in ensuring that the right business decisions are made. A clear view is essential for planning ahead and steering a company in the right direction, as well as for reacting swiftly to changing circumstances. In an increasingly digitalized world with global networks and decentralized structures, clear-sightedness has become a challenge that must be facilitated by a company’s IT department, but overseen by top management. Transparent concepts and structures provide the guidelines for global technological realization with local adaptation.
The foundation for agility and staying one step ahead, which makes all the difference when it really counts. Only when the right information is available at the right time can the right decisions be made. For the CFO and team, ‘fast’ nowadays means in real time, of course. Identifying and analyzing interrelationships across the entire supply chain in real time is not just a nice gimmick, but a critical competitive advantage.
From local tax laws to global accounting, regulatory requirements are increasing all the time. Rationally, a risk-averse approach is certainly advisable and, moreover, making compliance an integral part of the strategy and implementation also frees up internal resources.
What levers does a modern CFO have to pull?
Ideally, the CFO should pull all the levers, pursuing a holistic concept with a focus on transparency, speed, and compliance. “Our experience shows that successful modifications to the finance structure should always be based on business goals and top management input,” explains Sebastian Hellmann, Consulting Director at cbs Corporate Business Solutions. A holistic approach, when also supported by the specialist departments, generates a best-practice control concept and vision, which have to be measured against the status quo as well as the technical possibilities. The underlying technology, often SAP, has more than just a limiting role to play here; in fact, it is usually also an ‘enabler’ – because, in many cases, full advantage has not been taken of new hardware and software.
“From our many global FiCo projects, we know that with an integrated, globally standardized financial and reporting platform, CFOs are optimally positioned – in terms of strategy, concept, and realization. Harmonized processes and structures that have been fully synchronized across the most varied business units ensure maximum transparency and efficiency,” adds Maximilian Thür, Manager at cbs Corporate Business Solutions. Technical end-to-end coverage of the information minimizes potential errors, speeds up reporting, and maximizes compliance.
The resulting standardization and automation greatly reduces operational effort and enables the resources that have been freed up to invest in value-adding work and generate important insights. This creates the basis for further innovations that, among other things, help the CFO make quick, forward-looking business decisions. Certainly, the path to a uniform and globally standardized financial and reporting platform is not an easy one, but no other path promises such successful and sustainable restructuring in finance and controlling.
With ONE Finance, cbs delivers a comprehensive and end-to-end enterprise & transformation solution based on a global best-practice controlling and mapping concept for large enterprises running SAP. Implementation is completed at top speed, using a minimally invasive end-to-end transformation approach.