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Finance Employees Prioritizing Better Business and Competitive Intelligence

Both executives and staff working in finance have specified improving the busi

Both executives and staff working in finance have specified improving the business and competitive intelligence of their organizations as being top priorities, according to a survey conducted by global consulting firm Protiviti.

The global consulting firm's 2012 Finance Priorities Survey sought to reveal patterns existing among finance staff in terms of their priorities and capabilities.

Top priorities for finance staff

Competitive intelligence, which involves gathering data on potential impact of the relevant regulations, competitors and vendors, was identified as the top area of concentration by the financial analysis component of the study. Second place came down to a two-way tie between business intelligence and executive dashboards. These three patterns support the idea that finance professionals are being given the responsibility of giving executive teams with the information they need.

"A robust competitive intelligence capability enables companies to scrutinize the external landscape continually for information that decision-makers need to identify new growth opportunities and minimize and/or avoid strategic risks," James Pajakowski, executive vice president of global risk solutions for Protiviti, said in the statement.

Other concerns

Various additional areas of focus were identified by the survey, which include tactics related to corporate chargeback allocation, metrics related to performance management and operations and overall utilization of shared services.

Ryan Senter, a managing director with Protiviti, stated in reference to the governance of shared services that "finance departments appear intent on moving their shared services organizations beyond a 'lift and shift' approach to a more mature strategy that expands the scope of business services and increases overall efficiency for organizations."

Other highlights

One additional pattern uncovered by the study indicate that various market participants are prioritizing improving their existing financial risk management amid the current uncertainty surrounding the global economy.

Another top area of focus identified for finance departments in companies with at least $1 billion in revenue is regulations related to international/transfer pricing. This practice did not receive a high ranking in the 2011 study.

While finance staff are still putting their resources into matters involving complex transactions, they have been taking an increasing responsibility in company strategy. This is motivating the operations of financial staff to make transaction-related processes as efficient as possible so that the employees will have more time resources they can devote to financial analysis and activities that support key business decisions. 

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