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Cost of finance on the rise, claims PwC

Report finds 62 percent of finance staff continue to work manually from spreadsheets

28 Mar 2011

By Richard Crump

Graphic showing rise in money

A new study by PwC into the effectiveness of the finance functions at more than 130 of the top 200 FTSE and international companies has found that the cost of finance has increased for most organisations.

The 2011 finance effectiveness benchmark study also claims that the failure of finance departments to deal with rising costs was compounded by a continued reliance on manual spreadsheets for business analysis.

According to the report, 62 percent of finance staff are still working manually from spreadsheets, while fewer than 15 percent believe they have effectively alligned their use of technology with their overall business strategy.

"The rising cost of finance is being driven by investment in performance improvement as opposed to looser cost control. However, it seems that many finance organisations are still struggling to sell the case for addressing the basic challenges around process and systems," said Nick Jarman, partner at PwC.

According to PwC, the best performing functions tended to have higher levels of automation, more effective use of shared services and more consistent and reliable data sources, allowing specialists to spend more than 30 percent more of their time on analysis than their counterparts in a typical finance function.

A focus on automation and effective business partnering can result in costs 60 percent lower and the error rates of accounts payable and receivable processes 70 percent lower than poorer performing functions, PwC said.

Other information from the report includes that investment in finance technology has continued to rise over the last three years, with costs now standing at 0.12 percent of revenue.

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