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How finance functions are transforming to drive business results

The seventh Finance Effectiveness Benchmark 2017 report by PwC based on 600 finance functions world-wide, reveals that what sets the top performers apart is:

Source & Copyright©2017 - PwC finance benchmark data


  • Operate at lower cost not by reducing service levels but by standardizing and simplifying their core processes and systems— enabling them to free up resources to focus on business partnering (Although PwC found that the size and complexity of the business have a significant influence on relative erformance— more so even than industry sector.)
  • Deliver value through new and innovative thinking together with a willingness to explore new technologies and ways of working such as business partnering
  • Are rethinking the finance function to focus on value, e.g. Using automation to free up time for analysis, even in top quartile companies, 40% of time is still spent on gathering the data:
    • Source & Copyright©2017 - PwC finance benchmark data
  • Regard working capital as an opportunity to create value.

Four key finance challenges

PwC found four key challenges that finance teams need to address, and some of the successful strategies that top performing finance functions adopt, are:

  1. Building a clear role for business partners with the right skills to really impact business decisions, drive commercial insights, and focus on business results
  2. Investing in emerging technologies including cloud, data analytics, collaboration tools, and robotic process automation
  3. Taking the lead in driving behavior and cultural change not just in finance but across the organization 
  4. Driving large-scale transformation with a focus on data quality, governance, and change management.

Quite detailed case studies on GE Oil & Gas, Royal Mail Group, Safilo Group, BAT, illustrate show what can be done.

What does this mean for the corporate treasury department?

Through their consultancy and reports, PwC have a huge impact on CFOs thinking and attitudes. The impact of this report will be that corporate treasurers will:

  • rarely be allowed to expand their department - “the more for less” movement will continue
  • have to accept that treasury is increasingly regarded as a process rather than a department
  • be asked to focus on contribution of corporate treasury to the company efficiency as a whole adding value and help in driving cultural change.

CTMfile take: Worth downloading and reading just for the case studies alone.

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This item appears in the following sections:
Best Practices & Benchmarking
Outsourcing Cash & Treasury Management
Shared Service Centre Operations

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