How much does it cost to run the finance function? Howmuch should it cost? And what best practices can companiesimplement to bring those costs down without reducing the quality offinancial oversight and business support?

Answering these questions is one goal of the extensivebenchmarking research compiled annually by The Hackett Group.According to the firm's benchmark reports, the cost of finance hasbeen falling steadily for years. Even so, this year's result isnotable: For the first time, the finance function in the mediancompany cost less than 1 percent of corporate revenue. That's a 34percent reduction from two decades ago. (See Figure 1, below.)

Technology has obviously played a key role in improvingefficiency, but it hasn't been the only weapon in the financearsenal. Treasury & Risk sat down with Hackettsenior research director Lynne Schneider to uncover causes of thetrend.

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