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Corporate Finance Technology Strategy Webinar For Technology Strategists

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Corporate Finance Technology Strategy WebinarAs the role of the finance continues to evolve the office of the CFO now has much more ownership of technology adoption. Finance leaders need to not only understand which systems his or her staff need, but the needs of company employees across the enterprise that impact productivity, support growth, and drive profitability. This webinar illustrates how finance leaders can successfully own technology across the enterprise by leveraging current and emerging trends in cloud and related technologies. Content also includes a discussion of how Finance leaders can partner with IT leaders in delivering technology that drives top line growth in addition to operational efficiencies; and a case study from a CFO who has successfully leveraged Cloud Technology to drive efficiencies and drive top line growth through improved analytics.

This Corporate Finance Technology Strategy Webinar video is from the Proformative webinar "The Evolving Role of Finance Leaders: Technology Strategists" held on July 26, 2012.  The webinar features presentations from David Davis, Consulting Partner, Armanino McKenna LLP and Tom Kelly, Managing Director, T-Edward, Inc.


Corporate Finance Technology Strategy Webinar


"Learning objectives, we've got a lot of ground we'd like to cover today. In brief the things that we'd really like to get you to is a sense for how finance organizations are driving IT across the enterprise, and what finance, accounting, treasury, and related professionals can do to help drive that and drive good tech decisions. For some reason or some combination of reasons, finance and related functions within the enterprise have really become the home of a lot of the technology strategy and implementation for corporations.

This is a new role (inaudible 00:00:42), and will lead to a lot of interest and opportunities. Well, we're going to share about that today. Leading us off is a gentleman I'm happy to introduce, David Davis. He's a consulting partner at Armanino McKenna. David's expertise includes stocks, process re-engineering, internal audit, and mergers and acquisitions.

He's a consulting partner at Armanino McKenna. He has extensive finance and accounting background, as well as technology. He's been manager and CFO, controller, and many other permanent operational positions before he went to his consulting life. He's here today to tell us a little bit about owning technology across the organization from the perspective of corporate finance. David, with that, I'd like to hand it over and let you take it away.

David:  Thank you, John. Today we're going to cover a few things. First I'm going to start with some overview information from a CFO benchmark study that our firm does every year. Then, from there, we're going to drive down to some of the key directives of better business leadership around technology. The last part of it, we'll talk about some pitfalls to avoid.

Our firm has conducted a study and a survey for the last several years, actually since 2010. We've had over 1,000 participants in the Bay Area primarily that are CFOs, controllers, treasurers, and some CEOs that have all responded to specific questions, which we will give you some overview of that. Our goal in that study is to identify plans and expectations that are being put on the CFO organization by the business. Understand some of their top priorities and initiatives so that obviously we can also wrap our services around those things and help the CFO organizations that we work with.

The framework here that I'd like to talk about is something we refer to as the "CFO evolution". What we have done is we have spent time asking questions on the left-hand side of your screen. We've broken it into three roles that the finance organization plays, that of accountant, protector, and business leader. We've asked questions around how much time is spent by the organization, not just the CFO but the entire CFO organization. That may include information technology. It may include HR.

Different organizations have different steps of responsibilities within the CFO organization, but we've blended it all together. On average, CFOs are spending about 55% of their time in the accountant role, 20% in the protector role, and business leader, 25%. Then, the next question we ask is, "Where do you want your time spent?" That's on the right-hand side.

They want to spend less time on the accountant role, which as we all know, you have to be fast and accurate or you don't have your job anymore, so you've got to get that done right. They want to spend about the same amount of time on the protector role. That's the compliance issues, things like Sarbanes-Oxley at their public company, or private companies' tax issues, things like that. On the last part, they want to spend more time being a business leader and helping be forward-looking and strategic to the organization.

We've set up some initiatives around that, where we help companies streamline their accountant role, optimize the protector role, or enable the business leader role. Based on this, there are three key factors that have come out of it. There are initiatives that CFOs have told us around people, process, and technology. Today, we're going to talk about the last one, technology.

That just gives you a little bit of background on where we've gleaned this information from. Again, in addition to the survey, we do other market research. We put our own experience in that. A lot of the people in our consulting group have been in industry, as well as on the consulting side. We do have, we believe, a more practical approach.

All right, so what are the key technology directives that have come out of this? There are a couple we're going to talk about today, and this is the first one, move to an on-demand culture. Currently, it seems that CFOs are striving for what essentially is a 180-degree shift in providing financial data to the users of that data through user-driven self-service applications, on-demand type of applications.

Currently, today, only about 17% of employees, according to the study, can access information on their own. CFOs have said that up to 66% of the people in their organizations need to have access to that information through some form of technology. This is not just coming from the CFO. This is coming from the users of the data, the consumers of the data.

Editor's Note: Take a look at the Proformative library of recorded webinars, which include videos on topics such as Corporate Controller Webinar, Chief Revenue Officer Webinar, Compensation Negotiation Webinar, Investor Relations Analytics Webinar and Automating Financial Consolidation Webinar.

CFOs have identified this as one of their top challenges to providing effective decision support, even above improving operational processes or improving finance processes. Which as our study has shown over the last couple of years, they have spent a lot of time on that over the last five to ten years improving those. Now they're looking at other areas where improvements can be made.

What are we talking about here with on-demand culture? Well, Cloud technologies, this is one of the first things that we need to consider. Five years ago, no one was talking about the Cloud. Yet, in the last two to three years, companies are not only talking about it, but they're embracing it. It's clear that the trend in the Cloud is moving quickly, and CFOs must continue to educate themselves to ensure that they have the proper insight into the best Cloud strategy to meet their organization's need.

We're not talking about just simply picking an application here and there, but actually having a strategy around what parts of the technology should be based in the Cloud. Our studies have indicated that 60% of the CFO organizations have at least started discussing or trying to come up with a Cloud strategy. 22% are actually deploying Cloud technologies, or they want to in the next one to two years, and that keeps increasing in our study.

Some of the advantages that people see on the Cloud technologies are versus the on-premise model, and Cloud technologies, as you know, are referred to as SaaS, software as a service model. The lower annual subscriptions - and this information by the way is taken from the Yankee Group, which looks at a variety of technology costs and studies it. It comes up with total cost of ownership.

They're basically saying that Cloud computing can lower the total cost of ownership, versus on-premises software. As with all their on-premise software models, most of those larger costs are ongoing and are related to IT maintaining the system. With the Cloud technologies you have someone else maintaining that system.

Actually, it amounts to only about 9% of a company's cost currently for on-premise software pertaining to the software licenses themselves. It's all the infrastructure, the training, the upgrading the system that cause the rest of the total cost of ownership. With the Cloud, IT is not maintaining that system, so the costs are lower. They're spread over a much larger..."

End partial; Corporate Finance Technology Strategy Webinar


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