IBM and its Institute for Business Value does a great deal of work for the business community. Their research and reports give an interesting look into business for CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs alike. Every two years they publish reports for CEOs and CIOs, and every four years they report their findings on CFOs, CHROS, CSCOs, and CMOs.
Their most recent report concerning CFOs is their Global CFO Study which came out in October of 2010. There are still references and articles concerning the study through 2012. The next report is due out in 2014, but there are still some lessons we can learn (or might need to be reminded of) from 2010’s Global CFO Study.
The study looked at over 1,900 CFOs and finance leaders from throughout the world. They specifically looked at and analyzed the role of value integrators, those leaders who “consistently [outperform] their peers” more effectively and with better financial results.
In a recent summary of the results in the study, Tim O’Bryan at IBM discussed in detail the types of finance leaders discovered by the study. They are as follows: Value Integrator, Scorekeeper, Disciplined Operators, and Constrained Advisor.
Value Integrator – The most effective leaders have “strong business insight coupled with finance operations” that efficiently streamline information and make important decisions. Optimization of all financial aspects is a key priority.
Scorekeeper – This is essentially the polar opposite of a value integrator. Scorekeepers focus on “accounting operations, controls, closing the books, managing the audit, and supporting … compliance.” CFO Scorekeepers are becoming a thing of the past as more and more businesses demand more from the CFOs, as they should.
Disciplined Operator – These CFOs have taken the initial steps to getting the most out of their activities. They have “built a strong foundation of finance controls, standard processes, and data.” But they haven’t implemented more advanced analytics to provide greater insight into the financial pictures of the business. They are still performing far better than the Scorekeeper.
Constrained Advisor – These financial professionals have done a great deal to become like the value integrator, implementing the proper changes in the finance department. The problem they face is “fragmented data and having to drive their analytics through brute force.” They haven’t nailed down the standards and processes necessary to streamline their analytics, data, and efficiency.
The report itself, although a few years old, is still relevant and worth a look. Make a note to keep an eye out for next year’s report from IBM.