CFOs Lack Visibility Into Their Organization’s Spend, Study Shows

Process and technology improvements are top priorities for global CFOs within two years

A study of more than 500 chief financial officers (CFOs) and senior finance executives conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), commissioned by Coupa Software, reveals that more than 60 percent of CFOs lack complete visibility into the transactions within their organizations. In addition, 76 percent think leveraging new technologies or improving processes would enable their organizations to work better with other functions to execute corporate finance strategy.

The study, titled, “The Strategic CFO in a Rapidly Changing World,” takes an in-depth look at how CFOs and senior finance professionals are responding in a rapidly evolving world where new technologies, uncertainty, and emerging threats abound. Qualitative interviews were completed with CFOs from Ally Financial, Driftwood Acquisitions and Development, Hays, Micron Technologies, and Zendesk.

Rob Bernshteyn
Rob Bernshteyn

“The results of this study are not surprising – visibility remains a huge challenge for CFOs in today’s dynamic and ever-evolving business environment,” said Rob Bernshteyn, chief executive officer, Coupa.

Rob added, “It’s critical that CFOs adopt a cloud-based strategy for Business Spend Management that enables them to have visibility and control over their spend to make more strategic and informed decisions about their business.”

Additional findings include:

  • 67 percent see process or technology improvement as critical to managing risk.
  • To better manage costs, 60 percent believe process or technology improvement is critical.
  • Breaking down silos and improving cross-department collaboration is key. Nearly 60 percent who assess their organizations as most able to manage risk, cost, and capital also describe their companies as collaborative.
  • Automation and cloud computing are the top two emerging technologies that finance executives most expect to help execute corporate finance strategy.
  • Business performance risk is the number one threat with the potential to impact the financial position of those organizations surveyed.

A cloud platform for business spend management, Coupa helps customers such as Airbus, BAE Systems, lululemon, and Salesforce maximize their spend under management, achieve significant cost savings, and drive profitability.

Survey Methodology

The survey, commissioned by The Economist Intelligence Unit includes responses from 507 CFOs and finance executives across industries and located in the US, UK, France, and Germany. 75 percent of respondents are chief financial officers (CFOs) and 25 percent are corporate finance professionals who are at the vice president-level or above