There have been lively discussions recently in various corners about the need for finance to do more in the realm of business analytics. The general sentiment seems to be that finance, where natural analytical talent resides, has a great deal to offer to operating managers who are trying to discern the most favorable options for growth.
Financial forecasting and resource planning can be challenging under any circumstances, but today there is more demand from operating managers for forward-looking, driver-based analysis and scenario testing. CFOs, for their part, want less volatility in projected sales and earnings.
A big theme for CFOs this year is to reduce enterprise costs. That’s no surprise. But what is new is that CFOs seem to be inching closer to the idea of ERP consolidation—despite the risks and headaches that would surely be involved.
Over the past three years, CFOs developed a fine taste for productivity gains. And my most recent research shows they are looking for more 1. Surprisingly, some are turning, once again, to the basic transaction-oriented processes such as accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP). Why? Haven’t these processes already been made as slick as can be?
The latest update of the Accounts Payable Productivity Index (APPI)* shows that investments in AP process automation can be very worthwhile. The top-performers in the index (organizations with top-quartile scores for both efficiency and effectiveness) are gaining ground in their efforts to get suppliers to submit invoices electronically.