Survey: CFOs need new technology to inspire confidence in numbers

Disconnect between strategic expectations of CFOs and ability to reap financial intelligence

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 20, 2004) – Although 81 percent of respondents believe their CFOs are a trusted adviser within their organizations, only 25 percent believe their organizations’ current business intelligence technology supports the strategic demands of this key role, according to results of a recent survey unveiled today by and SAS, the leader in business intelligence.

Technology Gap

In September 2004, nearly 300 CFOs and other senior business executives (chairmen, CEOs, COOs and presidents), representing a wide variety of industries, responded to the survey that revealed a significant technology gap in the finance department. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that their current business intelligence technology doesn’t allow them to effectively identify and exploit revenue opportunities, evaluate performance across the enterprise or identify operating-level changes that would optimize overall performance. Meanwhile, 81 percent of respondents realize that their companies expect CFOs to shape strategic directions for the business.

While the majority of respondents were constrained by systems and processes lacking a comprehensive strategic perspective, they did identify the most valuable – and ironically, the most elusive – capabilities in a financial intelligence solution: In the survey, 88 percent of respondents cited sophisticated analytics and predictive planning as important or very important, while nearly as many said these functions are difficult to achieve with their existing financial intelligence systems.

The same was true even of the most fundamental attributes of these systems, such as system integration, insight into operations, rapid consolidation, data management and flexibility to adjust to change. Survey respondents decisively affirmed that these capabilities were important yet, at the same time, difficult to achieve.

For a summary of the survey results, please visit

Today’s announcement was made at the BetterManagement LIVE Worldwide Business Conference, which addresses critical business management issues from around the world. BetterManagement LIVE brings together more than 1,000 thought leaders from the public and private sectors to share insights and knowledge. More than 130 speakers in nine focused tracks represent a broad spectrum of executives, academics, consultants and financial experts. Learn more at

At the conference, SAS also announced SAS® Financial Intelligence, an advanced portfolio of software solutions that helps organizations achieve more predictive, accurate and timely results from their finance functions. By using SAS Financial Intelligence, the finance department can deliver a comprehensive perspective for performance management and transform itself into a confident, trusted adviser that supplies valuable intelligence to the entire enterprise.

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