Despite the well-known value of data in driving business operations, a KPMG report reveals that only 35 per cent of executives have a high level of trust in their own organisation’s use of data analytics, while 25 per cent admit they either have limited levels of trust in, or actively distrust, the data they receive. 
Often, this is due to the challenges that CFOs and their finance teams face with consolidating data from multiple sources. Without the right data at the right time, it becomes almost impossible for finance teams to build an accurate picture of organisational performance and gain buy-in from the executive team about where the business needs to invest for the future.
In the current dynamic and increasingly digitised business environment, it is crucial for organisations to make the right business investments and decisions based on informed analytics. They can’t do this if they don’t trust their data completely.
There are three ways CFOs can more easily and effectively leverage trusted data for business reporting and build the foundation required to support project and resource planning that supports organisational resilience and agility:
1. Adopt automated planning and reporting tools that let the finance team focus on strategy
Finance teams are spending some 520 hours each year, or 10 people hours each week, on manual tasks.
By replacing manual, spreadsheet-based processes with automated planning and reporting tools, CFOs can significantly speed up budgeting and planning cycles and provide real-time data insights that build a compelling case for executives regarding financial priorities.
Removing manual processes lets the finance team focus on strategic initiatives and create innovative solutions as partners to the business rather than process drivers.
2. Use master data management to align organisational key performance indicators (KPIs)
Master data management lets the finance team instantly consolidate and reconcile data from across all lines of business, and multiple business systems, into one centralised repository.
This is not only a powerful tool for providing timely insights into business performance, it can also help identify how business units are aligning, or not aligning, with organisational KPIs.
Recording, communicating and adjusting KPIs in real time supports the organisation’s ability to rapidly respond when market conditions change. Through master data management, the finance team brings solid and trustworthy data analytics to the executive team, promoting a greater confidence in decision-making.
3. Create a data-led culture across the organisation
While this may initially be challenging for creative teams that thrive on a more intuitive approach to business, the finance team is in a prime position to demonstrate how data supports and drives innovation and creative thinking across all lines of business.
A data-led culture, supported by appropriate tools, breaks down organisational silos because it uses the free flow of information across all business units to encourage greater interactivity and collaboration. This approach solves many key organisational challenges that arise due to business units not being able to access timely data when they need it.
At a time when the executive team are under increasing pressure to lead from the front, they need to be supported by a trusted data platform that gives them the confidence to make informed business decisions using comprehensive insights available at their fingertips. CFOs can play a key role in promoting this powerful source of truth for organisations when they adopt secure, cloud-based solutions.