Executives Aware Their Finance Operations Could Use Some Revamping

Executives are not satisfied with the performance of their finance departments, and see failure to effectively use and integrate technology as one of the most common setbacks, according to a recent report.

Thirty percent of executives consider their finance departments worthy of “outstanding” acclaim, the highest ranking category in a recent survey of 117 institutional executives by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The remaining 70% described their departments as “good, but with room for improvement.”

“The great majority of surveyed executives are using faint praise to suggest there’s a sizable gap between what their finances could be and what it is,” says Dave Pittman, US leader, finance effectiveness, for PricewaterhouseCoopers,  in the report .

The report also reveals a disparity between executives’ view of the importance of their finance operations – 85% reporting that a high-performing finance department was strategic – and their commitment to bringing it above a mark that denotes “outstanding.” When asked to rate the effectiveness and performance of their company’s own finance department, 30% award their finance operations with such applause.

The area where executives see the greatest possibility for improvement is technology, with only 9% of respondents giving their systems a top rating.

“Recurring mention of finance organizations’ inability to effectively leverage technology reaffirms its criticality and hints at the seriousness of this shortcoming,” said Pittman. He added that part of the problem is that organizations poorly integrate new technology with their existing systems, unnecessarily piling systems on top of each other.