CFOs are the happiest with the performance of their finance functions than at any point since 2011, research by Accenture has found in its 2014 High Performance Finance study.
In every aspect surveyed, the 600 CFOs canvassed were more comfortable and satisfied with the health of their departments than they were three years ago.
In particular, only 39% were concerned that over-regulation could have a detrimental impact on finances, compared to 53% in 2011, while just 38% reported worries relating to permanent volatility, compared to 46% three years ago.
However, four out of five of the top challenges facing CFOs are now due to internal complexity, including dealing with legacy systems and environments; managing the needs of all stakeholders; new and complex business risks; and supporting increasingly complex operating models.
CFOs are now playing a greater role in creating business value, with the role expanding beyond cost control, accounting and compliance. Almost three-quarters reported that the their influence in supporting strategic decision making has increased in the past two years. Around 60% said their influence in providing insightful analytics has grown and 61% said that their influence in partnering with enterprise functions has also risen.
“Following the economic downtown, many CFOs were forced to take a defensive approach to managing the external challenges. Now we’re seeing finance executives proactively addressing new internal sources of complexity, which in many cases are the byproducts of growth and strong performance,” said Accenture’s strategy, finance & enterprise performance global managing director Christian Campagna. “While complexity will never be eliminated, the most proactive CFOs understand that they not only need to manage complexity in all of its forms, but also embrace it as an opportunity.”
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