Over the last 20 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a CFO and to work with other CFOs to improve the performance of finance operations.
There’s a trend at the moment to talk about the ‘new’ role of the CFO, concentrating on business strategy, M&A and other aspects of the job that become more important as we return to growth and spending.
Exciting as that is, I think that this loses sight of the breadth and depth of the CFO’s role. As various high-profile corporate crises have shown, it is a gap in these fundamentals that can cause the greatest damage to the world’s largest businesses. The CFO always has to balance risk and reward to deliver secure, profitable growth.
Three audiences, one lake of financial data – and the auditors…
As a CFO, I would argue that you have three ultimate audiences or groups of stakeholders. The KPIs on your dashboard should reflect these:
- The business leadership
- Shareholders and investors
- Tax and regulatory authorities
Underpinning all of these is a lake of financial (and relevant non-financial) data. This is where the accuracy and security of data to support relevant reporting and analytics is the paramount concern and is therefore the subject of regular, frequent and potentially expensive checks by a large selection of auditors (including internal, external, regulatory and tax).
The KPIs on the dashboard
If you can keep all three of these audiences ‘happy’, then you must be doing a great job! So what are the measures that show that you are attending to their needs? I would propose that the KPIs below are a good starting point:
I will explain my rationale and include more detail for each of the above in future articles, starting with perhaps the most surprising, ‘customer satisfaction’.
Dealing with these KPIs in practice
I have worked with my team to make sure that the portfolio of solutions and services that we develop, support and invest in are aligned to these KPIs.
Ultimately, I want to get to a position where Capgemini clients can benchmark themselves on these fundamental KPI areas and say, “Yes, because of Capgemini we are head and shoulders above our competition…” I think it’s a great opportunity for the profession. CFOs don’t often get the chance to benchmark themselves against their peers and rank their performance for the business.
All this may sound like an ambitious goal for Business Process Outsourcing to deliver on – but in many ways, it’s perfectly positioned to help CFOs excel at these fundamentals. It’s yet another reason why I’ve been beating the drum for businesses to ‘Expect More’ from BPO…