Robert Thompson, Global Controller at Victaulic Company, examined how technology can help chief financial officers thrive during his presentation to Argyle's CFO membership at the 2017 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Forum in New York on November 14. In his presentation, "How to Leverage Technology for True Financial Transformation," Thompson offered insights into how technology can help CFOs address critical financial issues.
According to Thompson, Victaulic once struggled with financial data management and analysis. Although the company wanted to find ways to optimize the value of the data at its disposal, the data collection and analysis technology that was in place created problems for the business.
Victaulic previously took a siloed approach to data management and analysis. The company collected a massive amount of data, but its team members struggled to understand the importance of this information. Also, Victaulic's approach to data management and analysis often made it difficult for team members to work together to realize the full value of all of the information at their disposal.
"We were blind and we were disjointed in terms of our data," Thompson stated. "We had data spread across several IT systems, our end users were confused and our finance team was constantly trying to pull [our IT] systems together."
Moreover, the data available to Victaulic offered limited insights into the company's day-to-day operations. And without this operational visibility, Victaulic struggled to make informed decisions.
"We lacked visibility into what people were doing around the world and when they were doing it," Thompson noted.
Victaulic searched for data management and analysis technology that offered streamlined reporting, processes and controls. With this technology in place, the company could become more productive and efficient.
"We increased our visibility by deploying a much stronger reporting engine … and we were able to dive deeper into the numbers than we ever could before."
In addition, Victaulic wanted to foster accountability across all levels of the business. If the company deployed the right data management and analysis technology, it could ensure team members could gain actionable insights to make informed decisions.
"We wanted to drive accountability of our results to the lowest level of the organization," Thompson pointed out. "We also really needed to pull all of our [systems] together into one place."
Victaulic intended to deploy data management and analysis technology that resulted in quick, efficient processes. The technology would help reduce the time it would take finance team members to retrieve and assess data. Furthermore, the technology would remove the complexity associated with assorted IT systems, leading to meaningful business enhancements across the company.
"We wanted to lean the [financial] process out and cut out the fat," Thompson indicated. "We really helped filter the muddy water of all the complexity that we had built up over a very long period of time."
Ultimately, Victaulic discovered technology that helped the company achieve its goals. The right technology enabled the business to simplify its day-to-day operations, ensuring finance professionals and other team members could perform comprehensive data analysis and reporting.
"We eliminated waste and redundancy … that occurred due to limited capabilities and outdated technology," Thompson said. "We leveraged our new technology to improve and expand our reporting, and at the same time, and eliminate the waste and redundancy that existed in our old platform."
The technology deployment empowered team members to collaborate with one another as well.
"We wanted to drive accountability of our results to the lowest level of the organization."
No longer would team members be forced to deal with siloed data and systems. Conversely, the technology deployment enabled team members to quickly and effortlessly access a wide range of data and insights and work together to make informed business decisions.
"We wanted our finance teams to talk with one another in the same terms," Thompson noted. "We increased our visibility by deploying a much stronger reporting engine … and we were able to dive deeper into the numbers than we ever could before."
Today, Victaulic has improved its data analysis and reporting, thanks in large part to its technology deployment. The company has developed fast, effective processes and systems to ensure its team members can obtain unprecedented business insights.
"We now have a global system that is being used by both finance and operational employees," Thompson said. "We really transformed [our system] and now have both transformative reporting and flexible reporting."
The data management and analysis technology that a company deploys can have far-flung effects on the business' day-to-day operations. Finance leaders and other business professionals should look closely at all of the technology options at their disposal. That way, team members in multiple departments can take a collaborative approach to find the best data management and analysis technology for a company.
Lastly, business leaders should strive for agility and flexibility as they explore data management and analysis technology. By doing so, business leaders can increase the likelihood of finding user-friendly technology that they can leverage to drive meaningful business results.
Robert Thompson is the Global Controller at Victaulic Company, the leading producer of mechanical pipe joining systems with 3,600 employees worldwide and facilities in over 40 countries.
His background includes 4 years of audit experience with Pricewaterhosue Coopers LLC and 10 years of controllership experience in the manufacturing and distribution industries. He is a certified Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant.
Robert is the executive owner of the enterprise-wide corporate performance management (CPM) solution at Victaulic and oversaw the global replacement of their previous system. By leveraging new technology, he was able to add validations, visibility, structure, and controls for a complete global financial transformation.