Finance professionals lag behind in exploiting analytics technology to add strategic value

Published Friday, January 8, 2016 11:00 AM by Advanced, Editor

Just 2% have fully implemented analytics and over a third have no plans to do so

Finance professionals are failing to exploit analytics technology to add greater strategic value and trail behind other organisational departments in their adoption levels.

These are the findings of research carried out by Source for Consulting in partnership with leading business applications and service provider, Advanced Business Solutions (Advanced). The report is based on a survey of executives in a variety of roles from 297 UK mid and small-sized organisations.

Advanced’s survey reveals that just 2% of finance professionals have fully implemented analytics software and over a third (35%) are yet to consider doing so. Only a higher percentage of respondents from HR functions (68%) admitted they had not contemplated how specialist technology could assist them. The research suggests that analytics is most likely to be used, at least partly, within marketing departments (48%) and amongst senior decision makers (44%).

Simon Fowler, Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions (Commercial division) says, "Senior managers now expect finance professionals to analyse large volumes of data with greater speed whilst understanding the wider impact on a business. But due to being restricted by spreadsheets they can often be seen as more of a hindrance than a help which is a perception they must change.

"Modern analytics technology can quickly gather relevant information and provides a level of insight that isn’t possible using traditional methods, enabling finance workers to add greater strategic value and reposition their relationship within an organisation."

The respondents put forward a number of suggestions as to why businesses should invest in analytics. 86% stated ‘to enhance decision-making ability’ was a significant reason. Other main reasons put forward included to improve understanding of why things have happened (69%), to realise financial benefits (62%), having access to information more quickly (58%) and to reduce time spent on producing reports (45%).

Fowler adds, "Financial information is largely structured, so it’s important for businesses to integrate their chosen analytics software with a leading financial management solution. Ensuring tight integration between different systems also provides increased confidence in the underlying data which is vital to leverage the full benefits of analytics."

Advanced offers a variety of financial management solutions and is continually developing its software to meet the increasing need for analytics technology. The business’s leading scenario planning, procurement and spend analytics systems assist organisations to better predict business outcomes, reduce costs and improve operational efficiency.

To read the report, ‘Advanced Analytics’, click here.