mans face with lit up words projected over him depicting disconnected data

Beyond Data: A CFO’s guide 

Does your organisation gather data from multiple sources for reporting, forecasting or decision making? Is that data effectively siloed, so that it always requires a manual operation to find, select and use it in everyday operations? 

What could you do if you had more visibility over your data? How would that affect your forecasting ability and therefore your strategic thinking and decision making? How would that help you to influence the direction your organisation takes and the way it reacts to external forces, such as economic difficulties or market changes? 

Your problems right now 

Here are the issues you’re almost certainly facing as a CFO today – no matter what sector you’re in. 

Inaccurate DSO visibility – how can you improve your cash revenue collection? Do you know who pays on time and who pays late? Do you know how late the late payers are? Who is a regular offender? What would happen if you shortened your payment terms? Or charged a fee for late payment? Or offering an incentive for early payment? How would this impact your cash conversion cycle? 

Incomplete DPO visibility – good financial management means holding onto your cash for as long as possible. How do pay your suppliers? How can you improve terms? Which suppliers invoice on an irregular basis? What about suppliers using different currencies? How can you have better control over the cash going out of your business? 

Managing DIO visibility – how long does it take to get a sale on each product or service line? How can you reduce the time between inventory and sales? What are the key influencing factors here and how can you manage them? Do you even know how to find out? Where is the data held and do you have access to it? 

Without a doubt, there are areas where your business is not as healthy as you think – or where you simply don’t know whether it’s healthy or not. And because you don’t have visibility over that data, you can’t sort it out, plan for it, or use it to influence your financial and wider business strategy.  

Why should CFOs care? 

You’ve read a lot about data. You’re probably fed up reading about data. What you need are actionable insights that can help you improve DSO, DPO and DIO. This in turn will make your department more efficient, allow for better planning and forecasting and improve your financial governance. 

We’re not saying forget data. We’re saying, let’s look at how real-time data – internal and external can help you to raise your game, deliver better results and positively influence the direction your business takes. 

For example, you can look today at how currency fluctuations might impact your business three months down the line – based on real-time data. 

You can see how energy prices might affect your transportation costs – based on real-time data. You can see how setting up a subsidiary in a new geography could impact sales – based on real-time data. 

All this places the CFO and the finance team in a position to deliver reliable, provable predictions and forecasting. It also allows you to contribute to the improved financial health of your organisation. That’s because having visibility over your data allows you to see where the ‘gaps’ are. 

A virtuous circle 

The biggest benefit of opening your organisation up to data visibility and actionable insights is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving.  

  • You make more informed decisions, both operational and strategic.  
  • Those decisions result in time and cost efficiencies in your business, and better customer service. You’re able to grow your business in the way you want to.  
  • Decisions are made faster, allowing you to take advantage of market opportunities.  
  • This competitive edge helps to increase your turnover and profit and delivers continual, real-time data that helps you to move forward again. 

This is a virtuous circle – a chain of data-driven events where one desirable outcome leads to another. This in turn feeds back into the circle, driving continuous improvement across the board. 

An organisation-wide result 

And that’s the key. While data visibility and control do benefit the finance department – many saved hours and costs – it benefits the entire organisation too. The CFO and the finance team become the driving force behind strategic decision making, because they can model and forecast with the benefit of accurate, real-time data.  Take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped businesses deliver significant commercial improvements, increase sales revenue and drive long-term efficiencies. And then book a demo to see how we can help you.