Digital CFO Analytics: Avoid inflated expectations!

June 21, 2017


Without a doubt, we are approaching on industry resettlement and business models redefinition to compete in the 3rd decade of 21st century. The new puzzle tokens are everywhere, most of them defined in confusing terms for financial teams.


Blockchain, Process Robotics, Cognitive and In-Memory Computing, "Advanced" Analytics, Digital Decision Makers are just some terms that the "Advisers" or rather "IT Investment Advisers" wish to establish prematurely on the CFO Agenda.


According to IT Experts, BI/Analytics topped the technological priorities for 2017 and the following years. The problem arises when 80% of CIOs say that their BI organizations are "favorable" or "somewhat successful." However, only 10% Analytics initiatives include business outcomes. Is not ROIC important? How is "success" defined?


Most of the innovation issues that IT and Advisers are trying to put on the CFO's agenda are related to Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics. However, the primary interest is in improving the quality of Descriptive Analytics to improve efficiency and financial efficiency. So it is not surprising to know that 76% of Business Analytics initiatives are focused on descriptive analytics.

People and their processes continue to be of greater importance in IT Financial Innovation. You have to prepare the ground before you build the building, in other words, you cannot domain a sustainable innovation without first meeting current industry standards (Figure 1).




Figure 1


To be successful in the digital innovation of the CFO Office, it is important to consider these points to include in your diagnostic or financial transformation plan:



CFO LEADERSHIP to collaborate with others and inspire teams to achieve organizational goals.

  • Influence, motivate and gain support of others to achieve organizational goals

  • Listen effectively to others and convey thoughts or ideas in various forms of communication, including written, spoken, and nonverbal

  • Lead an organization, team, or individuals through transition toward a desired vision or goal

  • Select, develop, and reward people to ensure a healthy workforce and successful business performance

  • Work effectively with others in order to achieve positive results

  • Reach agreement between two or more parties to achieve the best outcome for the organization

  • Resolve issues using appropriate influencing skills and tools to achieve successful business goals and arrive at the best organizational outcomes


BUSINESS ANALYTICS to envision the future, measure performance, and report financial results.

  • Leverage financial accounting skills needed to prepare financial statements for internal and external stakeholders

  • Leverage financial accounting skills needed to record and analyze financial transactions

  • Assess key business factors, and successfully drive value through long-term and short-term planning and implementation

  • Project future financial and operational resources and requirements (e.g., cash, sales, inventory, people, and more)

  • Prepare the financial plan (control, authorization, resource commitment, and needs) for a specific period of time or project

  • Compare actual results to planned results, and recommend interventions where necessary

  • Report, analyze, and manage costs incurred by an organization

  • Implement procedures and processes that ensure data security, protect an organization’s assets, and meet legal and reporting requirements

  • Implement procedures and processes to ensure accurate and timely tax filings and effective tax strategies


DECISION MAKING to guide decisions, manage risk, and establish an ethical environment.

  • Analyze a company’s financial statements to assess performance

  • Manage a company’s short-term and long-term financing needs

  • Make decisions based on analytical techniques and innovative methodologies

  • Identify, assess, and minimize risks within an organization

  • Analyze capital investment decisions using quantitative and qualitative techniques

  • Understand, comply with, manage, and lead by professional codes of conduct


FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS to contribute as a cross-functional business partner to transform company- full operations.

  • Understand and master dynamics and drivers of business success in a specific industry

  • Serve as a valuable business partner to operational units outside the accounting/finance department

  • Use quality management and continuous improvement tools and techniques effectively

  • Plan and organize resources, both people and financial, to complete a major undertaking or event


TECHNOLOGY to manage technology and information systems to enable effective operations.

  • Use ERP systems to effectively control organizational financial processes, record keeping, and reporting

  • Use technology to solve problems, analyze data, and enhance business performance


I hope these recommendations are useful to you. I wish you a very happy weekend.


Pedro San Martin

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