Today’s CFOs are eyeing outsourcing and new financial software solutions as ways to help boost their finance teams’ efficiency.
When it comes to onboarding new software, having a dedicated, active coaching program in place throughout the process can help finance teams have a deeper understanding of the solution, and help them to provide clearer, more impactful insights regarding the company’s data to the CFO, said Susan Gershman, chief customer innovation officer for FP&A and financial software provider Prophix.
The more familiar finance employees are with the software, the more they can impact their organization’s business results and help their CFO “be that voice at the table” when talking with the board or key figures in leadership, she said in an interview.
Driving financial insight
For CFOs — who play a critical role when it comes to the decision to ultimately purchase new software — the biggest thing they are searching for when doing so is both the ability to collect all of their data in one place, and the ability to “use that information, not in just a reactionary reporting way, but to allow them to be proactive and model different scenarios,” Gershman said, something that active coaching and mentorship can help to achieve.
As well as the more traditional training resources such as online content, the Ontario, Canada-based Prophix also enables customers to meet with a coach, who will discuss the particular organization’s structure and needs, Gershman said.
That way, “three months or three years from now, if they do a reorganization or they do an acquisition or they decide they want to report a completely different way,” they have an in-depth understanding of how to utilize the solution as needed because “they built it from the start, with our support,” she said.
Having that in-depth knowledge may also help to provide a competitive edge for finance teams, many of who are seeing their efficiency dip as the slumping economy both skims available resources and ups the pressure on such teams to keep the business on track, CFO Dive previously reported.
To shore up their teams’ efficiency, CFOs need to ensure they are “prioritizing the most impactful projects to create a more agile, resilient organization,” insightsoftware CFO David Woodworth previously told CFO Dive.
Supporting the CFO
While typically finance chiefs are not involved when it comes to the rollout of new software or related projects, “they do stay super involved when it comes to seeing the output,” Gershman said.
“The dashboard is put in front of the CFO and they're standing in a board meeting or an executive meeting and drilling in and slicing and dicing very, very regularly,” Gershman said.
Having a clear, detailed view of one’s software and how it can offer the key details the finance chief needs can therefore be a boon for finance employees when it comes to their relationships with the CFO or other key members of management.
The finance worker has been carefully educated on the software and so “can show immediate results and benefit,” Gershman said. That’s also beneficial for the manager or “the leader who had the vision and wanted this to happen; they're getting the results that they wanted and they can see that their employee has that skill and can answer questions on the fly.”