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Stepping up: How finance functions are transforming to drive business results

Finance Effectiveness Benchmark Report 2017

Stepping up: How finance functions are transforming to drive business results

Top finance functions are improving business results by investing in commercial insight, spending less time on transactional work and running at lower costs. This year's report takes a closer look at how this is being acheived by companies leading the way.

PwC's seventh finance effectiveness benchmark study (2017) explores what sets top performing finance functions apart. Benchmark data from over 600 projects and interviews with 10 finance and business leaders have been compiled to draw out best practice across the industry.

What sets top performers apart?

With the emergence of technological tools including the cloud, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, finance transformation has the potential to improve performance and deliver great benefits. Properly applied, technology can free up time for finance to create and deliver value across the organisation.

While the potential is clear, so far there are few examples of finance taking the lead with this opportunity.

Analyses of what business partners are actually doing shows that only half spend their time on true business partnering activities and over half of the customers of finance (56%) say that their business partners do not influence their decision-making.

Businesses face a double challenge here—not having the right talent to support decision making and even when the talent exists, ensuring it is actually focused on the right things.

The consistent gap in cost between top finance functions and their median peers confirms that companies still have room to realise additional savings.

In the top four process areas where finance functions are most active, 35- 46% of time could be eliminated by automation or adopting more effective working techniques. An approach can be put in place rapidly, at low cost which can help transform the way finance works and the value it adds.

The proportion of finance effort focused on business insight activities has remained constant at around 24% and it seems likely this will increase as the expectations of finance functions changes.

The amount of operational work should reduce due to finance technology and automation. In addition, the availability of flexible analytical tools will help to drive insight creation.

What do Finance and Business Leaders have to say about today's challenges?

New ways of working through technology at the Royal Mail Group

Mike Prince, Director of UK Finance, talks about efforts to embed technology

Transforming the finance operating model at Informa

Fred Smith, Group Shared Services Director, talks about finance transformation

Moving towards a culture of finance insight at British American Tobacco

Senior business partners talk bout delivering insight that makes a real impact



Contact us

Brian J Furness

Brian J Furness

Global Consulting Finance Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7212 3917

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