In the Institute of Management Accounting’s “Redesigning the Finance Function” report, it was revealed that all companies are under pressure to curb costs and enhance productivity. Bosses, it said, were under pressure to reduce, if not eliminate, activities that are nonvalue-adding for customers.
“Given that change is a way of life, rather than an occasional disrupter of organisational life, it is clear that one major challenge for management accountants is that the finance-process-redesign effort will never cease,” it suggested. “The future promises ever more more rapid and continual change. These changes will require that finance keep in touch with its customers and be aligned with the corporate strategy.
“Continual change is about every individual being empowered to act in an orderly, responsible, and accountable way to instigate and make the ongoing changes needed to keep the organisation competitively viable” – and it seems becoming lean is the most current trend for the finance function.
So it comes as no surprise that 31 per cent of CFOs and FDs plan to recruit specialist project professionals, while 31 per cent plan to leverage data analytics technology to achieve productivity gains.
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These statistics came off the back of Robert Half Management Resources asking CFOs and FDs the question of how they planned to improve productivity within the finance function.
Those surveyed claimed they could boost the productivity of the finance function by 9.63 per cent if their strategies for improvement were introduced. Streamlining processes (30 per cent) was acknowledged as a strategy to improve productivity in finance function performance, followed by investment in performance management software (29 per cent) and hiring additional permanent resources (26 per cent).
Phil Sheridan, senior managing director, Robert Half Management Resources UK, said: “The finance function is gearing up for the next phase of evolution, as businesses continue to expect more support from their finance teams. Businesses across the UK are seeking efficiencies in how to progress new commercial opportunities, mitigate operational risk and reach growth goals.
“In the current skills-short marketplace, utilising the specialist skills of interim professionals can be a powerful strategy to effect change management in an organisation and improve productivity. At a time when return on investment is an increasing focus in both operational and commercial departments, capital outlay needs to deliver real dividends.”
Growing businesses invest considerable time and energy pursuing new contracts – the bigger the better. However, securing a big win can increase pressure on the business and it is important to plan ahead to ensure the right resources are in place to support its rapid growth.
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