IBM Study Shows Midmarket CFOs Under Pressure

Global survey reveals elevated decision-making role but large gap in agenda and ability to execute.

An IBM Corp. global study of some 1,900 chief financial officers and senior financial executives revealed that a large percentage of those executives have taken on greater decision-making roles in their organizations as they are sorely challenged by economic, industry and regulatory pressures to contain costs.

The study, which included 445 CFOs from mid-sized organizations, indicated that 75 percent have an advisory or decision-making role on their company’s entire agenda rather than merely providing information.

Survey findings indicated, however, that many CFOs, in spite of their elevated role, believe that they lack effectiveness in integrating information into their company’s strategy, developing talent, advising on corporate strategy and managing corporate risk.

“Midmarket CFOs and their finance organizations are taking a much more prominent role in corporate decision making,” said Marc Dupaquier, IBM Midmarket general manager.

“This makes it all the more important for these CFOs to be able to provide insights into their companies’ financial data and suggest strategies that will help advance their companies’ agendas.”

The survey also uncovered substantial challenges facing CFOs such as 40 percent of companies still produce financial metrics manually; 50 percent of organizations lack a common planning platform and 36 percent don’t have a common reporting platform; nearly 60 percent are unsatisfied with their abilities for operational planning and analytical forecasting; and, 47 percent are poor to average at anticipating external forces that impact their business and strategies.

The study, conducted in the middle of last year, was handled by IBM’s Global Business Services’ Financial Management practice and the IBM Institute for Business Value. Participants were interviewed either in person or asked to complete online surveys.

TAGS: IBM,CFO,finance,midmarket

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