Accenture recently published a report that found chief financial officers (CFO) and financial executives need more real-time data to create value. In conducting the report, the company surveyed 450 CFOs and other finance leaders at companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue.
“CFOs have more data at their fingertips than anyone else in the company,” said Manish Sharma, group chief executive of Accenture Operations. “Operating with real-time data puts the CFO in a unique position to drive positive change for the business, pivoting the finance function from measuring value to creating value and driving growth.”
Accenture’s report found that 99 percent of respondents believe operating with real-time data is critical to navigating disruptions, such as COVID-19 or recession, and 16 percent of respondents are being informed by such data at the scale that’s needed.
49 percent of respondents stated that the potential impact of rising interest rates is the greatest area of concern to their business for 2021, while 47 percent noted disruption from the pandemic was the greatest concern. Economic recession and hiring and retaining the right talent were also cited as a concern, moving into 2021.
Accenture’s report noted that 68 percent of the surveyed CFOs believe that a real-time financial model, which integrates AI/ML algorithms and real-time data sets, will be critical to enabling better business decisions, more-accurate forecasting models and improved data accuracy.
Respondents noted that they will invest in building real-time operations and processes in 2021. 44 percent of respondents said they plan to have nearly all finance processes and operations in real-time over the next three years.
“Not only do finance leaders need to outmaneuver uncertainty, but also leverage an intelligent finance operating model that draws upon data, applied intelligence, digital technologies and human talent to give them the speed they need to make the enterprise succeed,” said Dr. Christian Campagna, Ph.D., who leads Accenture’s CFO and Enterprise Value network.