A t a recent conference hosted by BlackLine, provider of controls and automation software for the Financial Services industry, research revealed that only 68% of CEOs said their CFOs were “up to the challenge”. Of course, there was no inquiry about whether they understood ‘the challenge’ and, in fact, what that challenge may be is yet to be seen. Let’s assume for a moment that CEOs haven’t employed the wrong talent; what then is causing CFOs to be ill-equipped to meet “the challenge”?

CFOs have a complex portfolio of responsibilities. The UK’s International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) notes that “CFOs are expected to increase their support of strategic and operational decision making in a ‘business partnering’ capacity in addition to fulfilling traditional stewardship responsibilities relating to governance, compliance and control, and business ethics.” That’s quite a task.

Setting aside stewardship, governance, ethics, compliance and control, leaves strategic and operational decision making, which on its own, is a full time role.

Strategic and operational decision making can only be achieved with access to accurate and timely data, presented in an easy to understand format. Good decisions based on good data demands a flexibility that allows a CFO to challenge and investigate. Data is the core of course, but accessing it in a sensible way that allows further analysis is equally critical. Beyond the IFAC definition, CFOs need to continually plan for the shifting needs of their organisation based on a sound economic strategy and using current forecasting methods.

Amidst all these competing needs, it is easy to overlook the issues of total talent management and contingent labour and how they can confound the best forecasting and muddle the best decisions

Contingent labour is growing quickly year over year, and today accounts for more than 20% of labour in some companies, but at least a third of CFOs have no tool for fully understanding their contingent labour spend. Perhaps CFOs are not ‘up to the challenge’ because of their lack of access to good data. Building a strategy without accurate figures and without the necessary tools to fully analyse and investigate makes it hard to meet any challenge. At IQN, we are enabling CFOs and other leaders to meet the challenge.

We believe that effective decision making is based on high quality, robust data from a viable source, presented in a way that is easy to understand. IQN Analytics is built on these values and provides customers the ability to ‘dive deep’ and ‘dice the data’. Though it may seem a bit dry, let’s be clear: Analytics is an absolute game-changer. Quality analytics will propel an organisation forward, because today’s best companies are awash in so much data.

IQN Analytics provides access to data in an optimal, visual way. Dynamic reporting tables empower organisations to design views and explore data easily and more rapidly, leading to better decision making. IQN Analytics users create and edit views to interact with and visualize the data in different ways, and a Dashboard Designer enables users to combine multiple reports and web content into a single integrated view. Certainly the CFOs referenced in the BlackLine survey would benefit from IQN Analytics.

One thing is clear; Analytics are as critical tool for anyone needing to understand their contingent labour spend and for anyone with a financial, operational or resource planning role. It’s not just for CFOs. The IQN Community of customers and partners are up for the challenge. Are you? To learn more about IQN Analytics, let me or one of my colleagues know.

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