What CFOs Need from IT

A study commissioned by ERP vendor Epicor Software asked CFOs whether or not they had the best data to make informed decisions for the business. Most participants responded in the negative. In an article for InformationWeek, David Wagner summarizes the study, giving us a snapshot of what industry financial executives need from IT.

Decisions, not Data

What can IT do to improve the accuracy of CFO decisions? According to Wagner they can:

  1. Ensure that data programs are designed for users to share, visualize, and manipulate their data in lieu of the traditional spreadsheets. This can be accomplished by anticipating how the financial team is going to share that data in a collaborative setting.
  2. Focus on the quality of the decision-making experience, as opposed to fretting over the data itself, its quantity, and appropriate data points. What matters for most executives is the experience of making good decisions. The data plays a supporting role.

It’s the Information’s Fault!

It’s important to consider that a ‘lack of information’ is the go-to excuse for most people in most situations most of the time. (Hindsight is 20/20.) Managers get paid to make decisions on the spot, without having an impossible amount of data at their disposal. They work with what they have. Sometimes, they even make up the information they need:

It doesn’t take blatant manipulation to create the feeling that data is the cause for a mistake. So, we need to take the numbers with a grain of salt, understanding that there are fallacies with dealing with data that will never make any CFO 100% happy. If they had all the imaginary data in the world to make a perfect decision, data scientists would be gods. Since they don’t, any failure can be blamed on whatever the missing variable was.

The Study’s Breakdown

  • Big data is a big deal (28%).
  • Let’s invest in IT now (27%).
  • Planning is our top priority (1/3).
  • We’re mostly making gut decisions without data (46%).
  • Mistakes are happening due to data gaps (44%).
  • Missing data is the biggest cause of mistakes (37%).
  • It’s true; we still use spreadsheets in the presence of ERP and IT systems (60%).

Read the original article at:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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