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Top-performing CFOs set apart by five key things 

By Ken Tysiac 
March 13 2014

The most successful CFOs excel at creating business insights through a sound planning and forecasting process, according to a new survey report.

In a survey of 576 CFOs from around the globe, IBM identified a group of superior performers. Their self-described finance organisational effectiveness on 11 core financial capabilities far outpaced the others.

Revenue and profit rankings of the top performers’ organisations over three years also were superior. Here are some of the traits that set their finance organisations apart, according to the report:

  • Well-developed planning and forecasting processes. The superior performers are better at industry and competitor analysis; supply-chain financials, economics and forecasting; and resource capacity planning and forecasting.
  • Strong analytical talent in finance that’s able to partner with other areas of the business. Top performers excel at scenario planning and are skilled at evaluating proposals from other parts of the organisation.
  • Adoption of enterprise-wide information standards. Consistent design and deployment in every financial process makes it easier to automate manual procedures and detect variations in performance, the report says.
  • Strong risk management. Almost all (91%) of the top performers report that they preside over finance organisations that are effective at managing risk.
  • Effective identification of new opportunities for revenue growth. The top performers excel at demand planning and forecasting, as well as assisting in product or service development.

Ken Tysiac (ktysiac@aicpa.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.

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