Are CFOs No More Than Just Purse Keepers?

The answer is that they are so much more. In a study released today, Dun & Bradstreet revealed data that uncovers the changing role finance leaders play in stewarding their organisation’s customer experience, a mandate traditionally viewed as one of the chief marketing officer. Because positive business results are often fuelled by great customer experiences, chief financial officers are increasingly using data and analytics to become customer-obsessed to ensure their organisation’s customer strategy is rooted in insights that will drive favourable outcomes.

The Customer-Obsessed Finance Leader, a study commissioned by Dun & Bradstreet and conducted by Forrester Consulting, found:

  • 36% of company finance executives surveyed were identified as customer-obsessed Leaders, making customer-focused initiatives a top priority this year and reporting increases in customer acquisition, retention, and satisfaction.
  • Customer-obsessed finance Leaders reported year-over-year increases in revenue, profitability, and cash-flow at a rate of 10 to 30%age points greater than their less advanced peers.
  • Data and insights-driven companies are 39% more likely to report year-over-year revenue growth of 15% or more.
  • 79% of customer-obsessed Leaders indicated that their organisation will likely increase spending on technology applications to support customer engagement.
  • Implementation of a customer-obsessed strategy requires mastery of seven data competencies that must be aligned across people, processes, and technologies.

CFOs, with their leadership position, cross-organisational perspective, and ability to understand complex sets of data, are uniquely positioned to implement insights-driven behaviours and processes within their organisations. Investing in the right tools and technology, as well as augmenting internal data with third-party data and analytics are some of the key actions leading finance executives are taking.

Challenges to becoming truly customer-obsessed persist; disconnected strategies within the organisation, disparate data, inconsistent metrics, and a lack of investment in technology are among respondents’ most cited obstacles.

The study further outlines seven critical data competencies to master, qualities and resulting metrics that set customer-obsessed finance leaders and followers apart, and how-to strategies to focus efforts around using data and analytics to become a customer-obsessed organisation.

The survey, fielded within North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific in February 2017, included feedback from 250 finance executives (CFOs or EVPs of finance) from companies in multiple industries generating $150 million or more in revenue.

(Source: Dun & Bradstreet)

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