New CFO Benchmark Report Finds Finance Teams are Primed to Invest in Emerging Technologies for More Strategic Planning, Enhanced Business Results

While Finance Execs are Embracing Innovative Technologies like Alexa in their Everyday Lives, Business is Still Playing Catchup with Modern Tools to Drive Data-driven Decision Making

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, March 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Prophix Software, a global leader in mid-market Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software, today shared findings from its new 2020 CFO Benchmark Report. The Report revealed 60% of financial executives plan to invest in forward-looking initiatives around cloud-based analytics and modern technology-enabled reporting tools in the next three to five years to help their organizations grow and thrive in today’s competitive business environment. In collaboration with The CFO Leadership Council, Prophix surveyed 391 North American financial executives on the top priorities and challenges they face within their organizations in this inaugural benchmark of the state and future of the Office of Finance.

“The role of finance professionals is rapidly evolving from rote reporting based on manual spreadsheets to a more strategic advisory capacity, thanks to data-driven insights that actively support business objectives,” said Alok Ajmera, President & COO, Prophix. “Many leading organizations are already experiencing the benefits of automating their financial planning & automation (FP&A) processes, including receiving more timely and insightful financial data through advanced analytics and AI-powered CPM. The CFO Benchmark Report offers financial executives an opportunity to gauge how their organizations compare to peers in terms of FP&A analytics maturity and better understand how advanced technologies can alleviate many of the issues they’re facing within their departments by driving change, not just reacting to it.”

Key findings from the report:

 Top challenges and stressors for finance leaders:

  • Of all the FP&A responsibilities finance leaders have on their plate, forecasting was listed as the top stressor that “keeps them up at night”.
  • Other areas that present challenges for finance leaders included:
      º  Improving company growth and/or achieving desired profit margins (42%)
      º  Managing costs & cash flow (28%)
      º  Lack of accurate real-time data (20%) and finding and retaining quality talent with the right skills (15%)

Top priorities for finance leaders over the next two years include:

  • Improving revenue growth (22%) and financial information transparency and quality (18%)
  • Directing more time to my team for business analysis (16%)
  • Enhanced reporting (quality, timeliness, etc.) (15%)

Advanced technologies still slow to be adopted in business:

  • The survey showed finance leaders are willingly embracing new technologies including virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa (70%), online streaming (87%) and ride sharing (72%) in their everyday lives. However, the application of these more efficient, automated technologies into their work lives has been delayed. 

Most organizations are still in the early stages of FP&A maturity:

  • Although the majority of respondents see enhanced analytics and reporting tools as a key enabler for them in the next couple of years, over half (51%) say they are still in the early stages of financial planning and analytics maturity, with the majority of time spent on low-value, manual tasks. In fact, over half of financial professionals cited spreadsheets as the number one area where their time is not spent effectively.

Finance leaders report technology is a key priority for improving their FP&A maturity:

  • The majority of respondents (40%) said they would like systems that offer a more robust set of functionalities. But finance leaders also say identifying staff with the right skill sets and experience (26%) and access to higher-quality data (18%), alongside more robust software provides the beginnings of a roadmap to greater FP&A maturity.

“When asked about roadblocks leaders face in advancing the future of finance, responses generally fit into three categories: lack of the right people with the right skills, not having the time to pursue priorities, and budgetary constraints to invest in new tools and capabilities,” said Jack McCullough, Founder of The CFO Leadership Council. “However, all of these roadblocks can be addressed through modern technology tools that automate manual processes and increase efficiency, helping organizations quickly realize the positive ROI of that initial financial investment.”

The report shows corporate culture is shifting in favor of forward-looking finance departments and most organizations stand ready to invest in enhanced modeling and reporting capabilities. Respondents reported they’re already contributing to strategy and growth in their organizations:

  • 26% said they were improving their reporting and analytics, sharing more results with the rest of the business
  • 19% said their department was taking on more responsibilities in managing and improving financial performance
  • 13% said they were already impacting business strategy and planning

More than 60% of respondents said their organization was willing to selectively choose new areas to apply technology and run pilot programs, while another 12% were aggressively seeking new technologies to try. That means nearly three quarters of organizations overall, are ripe for a pilot program of technology to empower and enable the finance function.

“The report showed finance leaders believe software with AI and machine learning capabilities can directly address some of their biggest challenges by providing real-time insights, more accurate data, improved forecasting and better predictions – all of which map to the top challenges finance faces with forecasting, strategic planning, and risk management,” Ajmera added. “The bottom line is finance leaders are ready to adopt new technologies to optimize their FP&A processes, deliver more timely, efficient reporting and analysis, and be viewed as true drivers of change in their organizations.”

To see the full CFO Benchmark Report, click here. Prophix will also host a free webinar on March 26 entitled "The 2020 CFO Benchmark Report: Finance Department Challenges, Capabilities & Solutions" with Prophix President Alok Ajmera and Jack McCullough of the CFO Leadership Council to review the full results from the report. Click here to register for the webinar.

About Prophix
Your business is evolving. And the way you plan and report on your business should evolve too. Prophix helps midmarket companies achieve their goals more successfully with its innovative Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software. With Prophix, finance leaders improve profitability and minimize risk by automating budgeting, planning and reporting, and puts the focus back on what matters most – uncovering business opportunities and driving competitive advantage. Whether in the cloud or on-premise, Prophix supports your future with a platform that flexes to suit your strategic realities, today and tomorrow.


Rachel Douglas
+1 (905) 279-8711 Ext: 502

Colleen Irish
Tier One Partners
+1 (617) 842-1511