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What role did the finance function play to address the extreme business conditions ushered in by the recent recession? And as growth begins to return to the agenda, what will the new business landscape look like—and how will finance executives ready themselves to continue supporting their enterprise’s pursuit of high performance?
The 2011 Accenture High Performance Finance Study looks at these and other critical questions facing finance executives, and identifies seven themes that will drive the finance agenda for 2012 and beyond. Also included is a separate executive summary highlighting the key survey findings. [PDF, 559KB]
Download the A4 version of the Accenture 2011 High Performance Finance Study [PDF, 2.7MB]
Learn more about the 2011 High Performance Finance StudyWatch this IDC video, sponsored by Accenture - “Becoming a Finance Master”Watch this IDC video, sponsored by Accenture - “Trends in Finance”
Since Accenture last conducted its High Performance Finance Study in 2008, we have seen a fundamental restructuring of the global economy and, with it, massive changes in the challenges companies and governments face—and ways in which they must do business.
The finance organization sat at the epicenter of these changes. It provided the advice that guided senior leaders in shaping their response to the financial crisis: on how to preserve precious cash and identify and minimize risks. It will have to continue to provide the same guidance as enterprises look forward.
The 2011 Accenture High Performance Study sought to understand the major challenges faced by the finance organization, how well prepared finance executives believe they are to address them, and the critical capabilities needed to succeed—in short, what constitutes “finance mastery” in the new business reality.
Accenture conducted online surveys with more than 530 senior finance executives and approximately 300 C-level customers of finance, as well as several in-depth qualitative interviews with CFOs and COOs.
Finance organizations have substantially improved their capabilities and performance in the past three years and achieved strong alignment within the C-suite.
Finance faces significant environmental challenges from new and changing regulations; continued market and economic volatility; attracting and retaining top talent; and managing the avalanche of data being generated—which add up to more complexity for the finance organization to address.
Given the current environment, CFOs may have to rethink their focus on finance cost reduction and selectively invest in capabilities to respond to challenges, meet the expectations of their internal customers, and deliver greater value to the enterprise.
Finance masters excel in the capabilities and practices that help the larger enterprise grow in a volatile global economy.
While cost and risk management will remain essential capabilities, they will not be enough to ensure continued high performance. As growth opportunities return, finance must balance its focus on cost and risk with additional capabilities. Considering the findings of our study and our experience working with leading finance organizations around the world, we see seven themes driving the finance agenda for 2012 and beyond:
Support a growth agenda. Finance has a key role in helping balance focus between mature and emerging markets.
Develop a flexible and responsive finance operating model. With volatility now considered to be permanent, high-performance finance organizations need an operating model that identifies changing conditions and responds to them rapidly.
Ensure optimal cash and capital allocation. Long-term planning and resource allocation will be challenging but critical.
Attract and retain top-flight finance talent. The skills and knowledge of finance professionals is increasingly becoming the determining factor of finance value.
Assure regulatory compliance. Globalization is making compliance more complex.
Translate data into insight. Transforming ever-increasing volumes of data is key to identifying and responding to opportunities.
Continue to focus on operational excellence. Driving cost and productivity improvements across core finance operations helps free up finance professionals to play a more meaningful role in the business as a whole.
November 15, 2011
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