Rachel Barger, Vice President of MidAtlantic & South at Ariba, shared her thoughts on the role of finance in the current economy at the 2013 Chief Financial Officer Think Tank in Morristown on July 18. During her presentation, “Finance and the Networked Economy,” Barger noted that business networks play important roles in today’s economy, a trend that is likely to continue in the foreseeable future.
According to Barger, recent data showed that the majority of best-in-class businesses are able to effectively collaborate with their suppliers. If more CFOs focus on collaboration, Barger said, these administrators could help their firms grow exponentially in short periods of time. Barger acknowledged that building business networks is key, and CFOs that understand their importance in today’s economy can help their businesses increase their profits: “If you’re going to buy or sell something, I’m sure that you have an account on eBay or Amazon. If you’re looking to rent a movie or download some music, you’re going to go onto Apple or Netflix. Why do you go there? Because so many other people go there and there’s so much content out there. A lot of us think about Facebook. Either yourselves or family members, are using Facebook today. How many people remember MySpace? No one uses MySpace anymore, right? How many times have you been invited to a business network outside of LinkedIn and have you not joined because you know no one else is out there? You’re going to go and go to the areas that have more suppliers, more content and more song choices. You’re going to drive to those networks.”
Barger recognized that collaboration and technology can help CFOs. If these business professionals depend on first-rate platforms and tools, Barger stated, they could help their companies for years to come: “Now, in a traditional paper-based methodology, you may not have confidence that critical inventory is going to come to you and when you’re going to receive goods and services. With greater collaboration, you’re able to understand just like in the Amazon example when something has been shipped, when it’s on its way, has an order been accepted, has it been confirmed? That gives businesses eventually more confidence to decrease some of their stock levels because they know that they’re going to get things when they need them.”