Thomas Fisher – Global Finance Transformation Practice Leader at IBM, shared his thoughts on the ongoing finance transformation that is taking place worldwide, along with the future of finance, during his presentation at the 2015 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Think Tank: Spotlight on Finance Transformation in San Francisco on Sept. 10. In his presentation, Fisher noted that today’s finance leaders must have the ability to monitor and measure business performance in a meaningful way.
According to Fisher, today’s finance professionals can provide insights and feedback to help a company develop its overall business strategy. In addition, Fisher said finance professionals are expected to drive “information integration” and bridge the gap between multiple departments: “What drives [information integration]? In our mind it really starts with data, but when you think about data it’s not just the structured data that you see coming out of your subsidiary ledgers, like order-to-cash information or payables information or journal entries. It’s unstructured data more and more. … We have exponentially growing volumes of information.”
Fisher also pointed out that more information is being generated annually. However, finance professionals are expected to find the best possible ways to leverage this data, Fisher said. These professionals must determine how an organization can leverage data consistently, Fisher said, and be able to justify their decisions to management as well: Analytics is a tough one for finance because on the controllership side of the house, (but) if you come and put a proposal together to your board of directors and say we are going to transform the controllership organization, it’s pretty easy to cost justify that.”