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Is there a correlation between investment in the finance organization and the results of the company? i.e. does more investment mean better performance, or worse? (Webinar Attendee Question)

This question was asked by an attendee during the Proformative webinar “Finance Transformation: Essential Elements for Driving Success" held on February 27, 2013.  Please join the discussion and add your insights below.

A video of the webinar can be viewed here: https://www.proformative.com/resources/webinar-video-finance-transformation-essential-elements-driving-success

Answers

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |

I've not seen specifics around this; however, I do work in silicon valley where there is often an allergy by entrepreneurs to invest in anything other than engineering. I've walked into a few situations where lack of investment created joint & several liability situations (bad) and some that went so far as to wipe out the company (I'm doing a work-out on one of those right now on behalf of the debtors-in-possession).

There is likely a bell-curve here. IMHO it is >5% and <10% on Fin/Acct(and HR, etc) vs total spends, but that is based on my experience and not demonstrated facts. The number ends up on the fat-end when you are dispersed, international, etc....there is just too much work involved to stay legal and to keep an eye on the shop.

I have similar experience with regard to Marketing and Sales, incidentally. I know too many folks who under-invest in these areas.

Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

I do not believe you will ever see data that can definitively answer this question. Logically (mine which may not make sense to others) - you need two pieces to be successful - a finance area that can analyze the results of your organization and draw conclusions to help you manage your business; as well as managers that abide by data based decision making. You could have the most expensive Finance area but if the use of data is not part of the company culture, the investment makes no sense. There is not a direct correlation between the expense of generating analysis and the value you place on it.

Linda Rodezno
Title: Treasury Manager
Company: WageWorks, Inc.
(Treasury Manager, WageWorks, Inc.) |

A few months ago, I read the results of some findings of Ventana Research sited in a newsletter of the Association for Financial Professionals....

One of the conclusions was that companies that close their books w/in 6 days of period end tend to show more efficiency than those that take longer. It was noted that the length of time is based on automation and human resources and companies with automation to manage closing process tended to achieve better results than those that stick to manual processes.

Automation & human resources require investment.

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