“Free my mind”
So said the CEO, responding to my question of what was wanted from finance and accounting. How could a CEO’s powerful intellect be held hostage? What would free the CEO’s mind?
“Receiving insightful financial information without thinking about accounting” was the response.
Finance professionals work with details. We protect the organization’s assets and future prospects, by providing objective information, good data and transparency about the numbers. We provide process for management controls, with tactical plans, forecasts, key performance indicators, measurements and evaluation of variances. We design controls that identify and resolve exceptions before they become crises.
We can be so willing to share the details. But the CEO needs to be free – trusting that the accounting and finance work is being done well. Process transparency and timely accurate reporting can help.
The CEO must focus on leading the organization, profitable growth, competitive markets, operational excellence, and customer satisfaction. Financial executives need to be partners with CEOs. As active participants in the business, helping the executive team drive cross functional strategic plans, build on strengths, identify and mitigate weaknesses, where to focus, organize, allocate resources, and direct activity. To do this, financial executives also need to free minds.
Transaction processing, bookkeeping, reconciling accounts, reporting, and preparing financial statements are no longer enough – when done well, these are the entry price for a seat at the table to be an active participant. New technologies now allow the detail work to be done by specialists more quickly, with better quality and lower cost. The transformation of finance and accounting is underway.
Are you an active participant? Are you free?