The best CFOs are the ones who know exactly where their businesses are headed and how to get there. And, just as important as having a solid company vision, all CFOs must continually nurture strong alignments between strategic and operational implementations, ensuring that all departments are working towards the same goals.

On October 21, The Boston CFO Leadership Council and The Boston Controllers Leadership Council presented Corporate Performance Management/Key Performance Indicators. This panel discussion focused on the use of today’s performance related technologies, as exhibited in planning, monitoring, analyzing, reporting, and measuring your company information against industry standards and benchmarks.

Our speakers included:

Here are some of their tips and words of advice:

Carefully Match Key Performance Indicators With Company Goals

Using online metrics, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must always be adjusted to reflect your organization’s growth, changes, and evolving needs. If you attempt to simply follow general KPI trends randomly, you will not benefit. When a KPI is no longer working favorably for your organization, don’t hesitate to reevaluate it and replace it.

As a CFO, you must be the one to bring varying opinions and information together and make sure that everyone is communicating effectively. First, keep your most up-to-date company goals in mind and ensure that they fit with your KPIs. Then, conclude that your data is current, while considering a variety of factors: customer satisfaction, contribution margins from your sales team, market share, free cash flow, inventory planning, hiring, and employee retention.

And, most important, think beyond the numbers. Thriving companies are generally the ones that focus on the operation of the business and pay close attention to metrics without losing sight of organizational visions.

A Collaborative Planning Approach Promotes The Most Success

As the guardian of company data, a CFO must take charge and lead the way for more collaborative interactions and goals, allowing all department managers to have easy access to the information that they need. Already, approximately 80% of CFOs utilize cloud-based data, which eliminates issues with varying report versions and, ultimately, makes it easier to use KPIs in managing long and short term company goals.

Be Open To A New Generation of Data Presentation

As we enter a new age of information processing and, as the sole use of spreadsheets wanes, we must ponder the question: Could we ultimately have a finance system that knows exactly what a CFO needs? New data efficiency models are constantly developing and our panelists speculated that big data could be the next trend. Companies and individuals have never had so much information at their fingertips, including third party data, and we need to understand how to best collect and utilize it as we consider future methods of implementation. 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.  We welcome your feedback.