Chief executive officer

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How innovative CFOs do more with less

A report published by CFO Research Services in collaboration with DLC, Inc.


FINANCE UNDER PRESSURE: How CFOs do more with less

FINANCE UNDER PRESSURE: How CFOs do more with less

INTRODUCTION Life has been getting harder for finance professionals. Increasingly, CFOs and their staffs struggle to do morewith less, compelling finance employees to work longer hours. In many companies, morale is slipping and turnover rates are rising. A survey by Financial Executives International found that 34% of finance executives plan a career change in the next two years.

finance to provide fast, customized advice on subjects ranging from investment optimization to supply chain management. Financedepartments are expected to run leaner, automating repetitive tasks and devoting more time to value-added work. And they are expected to do this while responding to the pressures mentioned above.

ABOUT THIS REPORT In November 2003, CFO Research Services (a unit of CFO Publishing Corp.) conducted a research program to identify how innovative CFOs are responding to the demand for finance to do more withless. DLC, Inc., a finance consulting firm, funded the research and the publication of our findings. Our research consisted of interviews with nine senior finance executives from the following companies:
• American Express • CBRE Holding • Charles Schwab & Co. • Delta Connection, Inc. • Educational Testing Service • Sony Pictures Entertainment • Technicolor Entertainment Services • VirginEntertainment • Yan Can Restaurants

Finance under pressure: How innovative CFOs do more with less is published by CFO Publishing Corp., 253 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210. Please direct inquiries to Lisa Nelson at (617) 345-9700 ext. 249, or Copyright © 2004 by CFO Publishing Corp., which is solely responsible for its content. All rights reserved. No part of this report may bereproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission.

The traditional finance function is ill-suited to respond to these demands. There are at least three problems with the On one level, this situation is the result of a set of well-known way finance departments organize themselves today: pressures. New regulations—Sarbanes-Oxley,especially— are driving finance departments to devote time and effort Inflexibility to compliance. “I believe that there is a tremendous amount First, the traditional structure is inflexible. Companies of work that most companies have to do in order to comply usually hire employees whose skills are the best match for the with the documentation requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley,” specific tasks of the job.But the needs of the business often says Gil Borok, global controller for CBRE Holding, change faster than the abilities of its specialists. a real estate services company. In addition, As a support function, finance’s purpose is uncertain economic conditions have prompted ��������������� to serve the needs of the organization—a companies to demand greater productivity— ��������������� � financefunction unable to adapt quickly to which, in many cases, means layoffs—from ����������� the changing demands of the business fails its non-revenue generating functions such as �������� internal customers. finance. At the same time, business units ����������������� demand a greater level of analytical support “Flexibility and adaptability are very important from finance to help them negotiate achanging ������������� to us,” says Fisher of Delta Connection. “The business environment. ����������� last thing you can afford to have is too many ������������ people on your staff who are limited in The result is a squeeze on finance employees. capability, who may do one job great but are “[The pressure of regulatory compliance] not adaptable. We need people who can do a is compounded by the fact...