When the ball dropped on New Year’s Day 2020, few would have predicted what was in store for the year ahead. From the changes we’d be navigating globally to the changes within our own homes and to our businesses, 2020 has been an unpredictable year to say the least.
While predictions might not have been possible, though, preparation was—at least on the organizational front. With the right processes, people, data and technology in place, organizations can prepare themselves for change. And CFOs and their teams can lead the way.
But are organizations doing enough to prepare for change? Vena surveyed 350 business leaders and finance and operations professionals from across industries and around the globe to find out—and what we found surprised us. The recently released Vena Q2-2020 Industry Benchmark Report reveals that most finance teams were unprepared for change this year, without the agile finance-led business planning in place that would help them adjust their plans on the fly, and move forward intelligently and confidently.
So how can you make sure you’re ready for anything so that your team’s not left scrambling next time? Consider the following suggestions:
- Introduce an early warning system. Vena’s benchmark report found that 56% of businesses don’t have an early warning system in place. That means more than half of organizations potentially have no way to anticipate what’s ahead and to act early on changes already underway. Through weekly and monthly operational and financial reviews, with an eye on trailing and leading indicators across the business, the right dashboards and review process can help you react early to change—and by doing so, get ahead of it.
- Put an agile planning process in place. Only 48% of companies surveyed have an agile planning process in place—leaving more than half who don’t. And since 40% of businesses aren’t using scenario modeling before making forecasting adjustments, many organizations are potentially left with no way to plan ahead. By implementing the right set of processes—including scenario modeling, cash flow management and agile forecasting —you can empower your organization with the foresight to react to change with agility and confidence, ensuring you have a plan in place and the flexibility to revise that plan on the fly.
- Create a solid foundation of data. Data is key for finance teams, both in times of change and during the status quo, yet our benchmark report identified several key challenges still holding organizations back on the data front. Of the professionals we surveyed, 57% named disparate and disconnected data as a key data challenge, while 51.5% spend too much time wrangling data and 48.5% find it difficult to get meaningful and actionable insights from their data. Yet the right foundation of data—and the ability to access it and use it effectively—is critical for informed and fast decision making, fueling data-driven storytelling and empowering the technology solutions you use. That makes it a key differentiator in how you navigate change and lead the way today and into the future.
CFOs and their teams can play a strategic role in leading their organizations through change—and it becomes a lot easier if they’re ready for it. The right processes and data, combined with an early warning system, can help you be prepared for when the next wave of change arrives.
Want to see more results from the Vena Q2-2020 Industry Benchmark Report? Download it for free today.