Reporting teams are no longer just seen as the stewards of reporting data – they are expected to analyze detailed information and extract insight from large, fast-changing and wide-ranging data sets. At the same time, finance staff must protect and secure that data, as the regulatory and reputational cost of a breach is a significant risk.
Finance leaders face an increasingly complex environment, and they need to prepare themselves for what the future holds. All firms are struggling with increasing automation, the advent of smart, connected devices and the need to use new technologies and harmonize systems. CFOs must get better prepared for Industry 4.0 and the disruption this involves.
When we look at the specific challenges that organizations face, we find teams struggling with IT systems that do not talk to each other, a lack of automation and a proliferation of technologies. Partly, this is due to increased reporting requirements, as firms introduce manual work-arounds to deal with the latest regulatory demands.
Upgrading IT and financial data analytics tools is the standout priority in corporate reporting, according to our survey. This was identified as a factor by 41% of respondents, outweighing the need to drive further efficiencies (33%) and the requirement to meet increasing demands for smarter and faster information (31%).
The importance placed on systems and data tools is reflected in investment intentions, with 84% of organizations worldwide expected to increase expenditure in reporting technologies over the next two years. Agile technologies will be a focus area. The cloud, in particular, allows organizations to respond more quickly and smartly to technology requirements and changing business needs. But there are also intelligent data capturing, artificial intelligence and blockchain to consider.