Creative CFO lightbulbs seen from below

Releasing the creative CFO

Today’s creative CFOs don’t want to be money chasers. They want to be money makers. Traditionally, CFOs and Finance Directors have been seen as the people who look at past data for reporting purposes, but never have the right insights to influence future planning. 

Today, all that has changed. A proactive and ambitious CEO wants to be supported by a senior finance partner who can work with them to build the business. This is often around some key growth drivers: 

  • Intending to float in an IPO 
  • Fundraising for product development, geographical expansion or R&D investment 
  • Planning or going through M&A activity 
  • Increasing focus on ESG issues 
  • Maintaining and improving compliance and stakeholder management 
  • Raising private equity 

As that senior finance partner, your role is to understand everything about the way the company works, having up-to-date data at your fingertips that allows you to manage scenario planning and strategic planning confidently, accurately and at speed. 

That means end-to-end oversight across your business – and the bigger your turnover and the more locations and subsidiaries you have, the more complicated that becomes

But you know this… 

A Pulse Survey conducted by PWC in 2022, spoke to more than 700 executives and board members from Fortune 1000 and private companies. It found that 53% of CFOs and finance leaders were re-evaluating their investment strategy to focus on margin-improving or cash optimisation projects. And for 47%, the top priority was to build predictive models to strengthen scenario analysis capabilities.  

As an experienced CFO, you know – as the PWC survey shows – that the main weakness in your financial system is likely to be the lack of a common data model. The time taken to pull together critical data from across your business significantly slows your ability to forecast and support your CEO, COO and other senior leaders.  

Your responsibility for everything from cost optimisation and audit compliance to currency fluctuations and the impact of economic pressures such as energy costs puts you in a potentially unenviable position. 

And yet you want to be creative. You want to have a positive influence. You want to be a proactive member of the senior team. 

What would be your ‘ideal’? 

If you could grant yourself three wishes to improve your working life, what would they be? From talking to CFOs in large organisations, we think you might choose: 

  • All the data from across your business in one place, in real time 
  • The ability to scenario plan in real-time, using a dashboard everyone can relate to 
  • Use data to improve sales, margins, forecasting, compliance and much more 

What does this mean for you? It means you need to have the foresight to understand how a common data model could transform the way your business operates. It means you need to find a business partner who can understand your individual pain points and target outcomes to help put a solution in place that works for you. 

And it means you can demonstrate that you are all the things your CEO, your customers, your investors and your market are looking for. 

The common data model in practice 

Our QSF Plan & Insight product delivers all this and more. For example, a sample dashboard for a complex manufacturing business provides a comprehensive overview of the financial health of the organisation and may include KPIs such as: 

  • Revenue: Including sales and production volume, pricing analysis, and product margins.  
  • Costs: Such as raw material expenses, labour costs, and overhead expenses.  
  • Gross profit margin: Calculated as the difference between revenue and cost of goods sold.  
  • Operating expenses: Including marketing, research and development, and administrative expenses.  
  • Operating profit margin: Calculated as the difference between revenue and operating expenses.  
  • Cash flow: Including operating cash flow, investing cash flow, and financing cash flow.  
  • Balance sheet: Showing the current assets, liabilities, and equity of the company.  
  • Debt to equity ratio: A measure of the company’s financial leverage.  
  • Return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE): Metrics that measure the efficiency and profitability of the company’s assets and equity.  

By analysing these and other KPIs relevant to the business the CFO of this business can make informed decisions that can drive growth, optimise operations, and improve financial performance.  

Isn’t it time you switched up to a common data model at your organisation? You can book a discovery call today so we can find out what you’re looking for and build a demo meeting that addresses your key needs. 

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