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The Biggest Challenges Facing Finance Organizations: How Companies Are Overcoming Them

There are a variety of techniques financial firms can use to overcome the chal

Recently, the Institute of Management Accountants surveyed roughly 50,000 professionals in a variety of industries, including accounting and finance. While the survey found that there are a variety of challenges facing financial institutions today, they can be broken down into three key areas: streamlining processes and increasing productivity, the role of the CFO, and real-time collaboration.

Streamlining and productivity

Productivity is arguably the top concern of finance and accounting departments. As such, organizations are constantly seeking out new ways to compete effectively in the marketplace, from advanced technologies and software packages to improved communication among workers.

Roughly 70 percent of survey respondents reported productivity increases over the last three years - half of those reported increases greater than 5 percent. The primary drivers of increased productivity include changes and improvement in business practices, as well as improvements in technology. Widespread adoption of cloud computing in the finance and accounting sector has led to greater ease of use for compliance programs and other accounting tools.

Speaking of productivity, don't forget to join the "KPI For Accounting Department" discussion.

Transformational CFO

All individuals within an organization need to evaluate their positions and adopt a transformational mentality, whether it's in colleague and employee interaction or financial analysis - constantly expanding skill sets and growing within a role is key to the continued success of an organization. In perhaps no other role, however, is this more important than with the CFO, and the challenge of finding, encouraging and utilizing a "transformational CFO" was reflected in the opinions of a large portion of survey respondents.

Particularly in the financial world, CFOs need to educate themselves about the various technologies that are available to them. New programs and software packages extend far beyond traditional accounting tools. Technologies exist that can help with some of the other challenges financial companies face, from streamlining the invoice process to connecting front and back offices.

Effective CFOs need to be constantly aware of the latest developments that can help their organization, and be willing to adopt new solutions - even temporary ones - to fix institutional problems as they arise.

Real time collaboration

It's important for all departments of a company to be able to collaborate quickly and effectively in order to meet the shared goals of the enterprise. A number of respondents to the poll indicated areas such as global operations and communication between the front and back office as areas that could use some attention.

By combining unified communication systems with flexible work arrangements and telework capabilities, organizations can not only realize improved collaboration between remote sites and on-the-road employees, they can improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover. Some studies have suggested that teleworkers are 55 percent more engaged in their work, and businesses enjoy a 25 percent reduction in attrition rates.

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