The CFO as strategic partner: from insights to actions

May 03, 2018
  • finance

When it comes to relevant data, the CFO is sitting on a gold mine. In reality, however, many organizations fail to translate their finance department’s valuable insights into concrete actions that will boost business. Armed with the right approach, expertise and supporting technology, the CFO can play a vital role in supporting the business in setting up and executing the business strategy.

In the heavily-regulated finance department, there is little room for error. As a result, the quality of the data and insights derived from it is very high. But insights alone are not enough: they need to serve as input for the business strategy and must be broken down into concrete action plans at all levels of the organization. The result is strategy-oriented behavior and better outcomes.

But how can you change employee behavior across the organization? Involve everybody. Imagine a company with a large number of clients. With the right tools, the finance department can determine which clients create value for the business, and which ones actually destroy it (due to a too-high cost-to-serve).

Creating value together

Based on these insights, a strategy map containing key success factors and concrete actions must be developed. In our example company, account managers need to be motivated to reorganize themselves to invest more time in profitable customers, and less in those with a higher cost-to-serve.

The key to getting these account managers – and everyone else in the organization – on board is participation and inviting them to co-create the strategy. In fact, a fundamental part of developing the business strategy lies in answering this question: “how can we create value together?” Establishing this dialogue helps employees internalize these insights and believe that their effort will make a difference. People embrace what they have created!

In doing so, it’s possible to transform your finance department from ‘just’ an information provider into a truly dynamic motivational driver. In fact, it is a golden opportunity to establish a unity of vision that will raise your organization to the next level.

How delaware can help

In next-level controlling, delaware brings finance and business closer together by:

  • enabling the finance department to provide the business with information and interesting new insights relevant for decision-making;
  • supporting the business to help and motivate managers to use these new insights to develop new business strategies, reach consensus and alignment, and translate these strategies into action plans at different levels of the organizational structure;
  • helping the business develop the most appropriate and enabling performance measures to monitor improvements in strategic as well as financial performance. 

In this way, insights are effectively translated into strategy-oriented behavior and tangible outcomes.

The delaware next-level control process is essentially a continual (plan-do-check-act) activity, and by infusing performance management into the DNA of the organization, it becomes a source of competitive advantage. delaware’s highly experienced strategic control experts act as the trusted partners of the CFO, the CEO and functional and/or business unit managers to accelerate strategic renewal and to turn information and new insights into business value.