The role of the finance team as stewards of, and partners to, the business continues to evolve. One area in which finance functions are increasingly contributing value is in understanding where the organization's profits are made and lost, at a very granular level. However, even when finance managers have cultivated these insights, they may have difficulty getting business managers to understand that the company's best customer is not necessarily the one who spends the most money with it.

The solution to this communication challenge lies in the data. As organizations develop databases filled with deeper and richer analytic information, finance can transform this information into fact-based insights that enable proactive decision-making.

In our 2016 Key Issues Study, The Hackett Group found that in the context of increasing business risks, intensified competition, and challenges to growth, companies expect to focus on a few dominant business strategies:

  • integrating enterprise information,
  • achieving and maintaining a competitive cost structure, and
  • formulating strategy with the business.

Each of these strategies requires detailed profitability analytic information—information that finance may be able to provide by effectively harnessing data the organization is already collecting.

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