The right systems are crucial to efficient and value-adding finance functions

The report, entitled, “Putting your business on the front foot”, which conducted in-depth research on over 200 organisations, found that the finance functions rated highest for insight, efficiency and control ran at a lower cost as a percentage of revenue. This was due to streamlined reporting and a focus on business intelligence, which in turn helped their businesses’ revenue to grow more quickly than their running costs.

According to Vantage, technology has a key role to play in this. As Steve Mainprize, Technical Strategy Manager at Vantage Performance Solutions explains: “Finance professionals deserve the opportunity to focus on adding value by spotting opportunities and threats, and highlighting these at a management level. This insight can add real value to the business.

“This new research confirms this by highlighting how it isn’t necessarily those organisations that spend more that add the most value. If you look at the cost of the finance team as a percentage of a company’s revenue, the top performers are averaging 40 per cent less than the median. Organisations that want to achieve results like this need to automate and streamline reporting, optimise their resources and allow their finance professionals to become ‘insight professionals’, as PwC calls them.”

The research follows a CGMA report earlier this year which highlighted the value of finance professionals’ input at strategic level.

Mainprize continues, “Finance departments are developing much better business acumen, and consequently have the potential to add much more value to the business. The problem is that many professionals’ time is taken up with important but time-consuming reporting to both internal and external stakeholders. If they can only replace their cumbersome spreadsheets with modern, integrated accounting systems, they’ll be able to do away with all those fallible, long-winded reporting processes. Then the business will really start to see how their finance team’s insight can improve the bottom line.”