Be A High-Performing Finance Department, Part 3: The Steps To Success

Nick Castellina, Research Director, Aberdeen Group

In a recent blog , I outlined the capabilities and technologies that organizations that commit to financial transformation have implemented (click here to see an infographic highlighting this research). I mentioned that I have uncovered quantifiable proof that this strategy works. I’m back this week to show you exactly what those benefits are.

Truly, organizations that commit to financial transformation perform better across a variety of Businesswoman holding tablet computer with pie chartmetrics (Table 1). For example, as finance becomes a strategic source of information for decision-making across the organization, accurate financial data must be delivered to key stakeholders in a timely manner. Organizations that commit to financial transformation deliver 78% percent of reports in the time needed by managers. Further, organizations that commit to financial transformation are able to provide this information to 14% more key stakeholders.

Ultimately, this results into quicker decisions that may be turned into profits. But it’s really about what organizations do with improved financial processes. Improved results include shorter time to close a month, more accurate forecasts, less impactful audits, and improvements in the ability to borrow effectively. Truly, these improvements can greatly reduce the overall cost of running a finance department. The benefits of financial transformation truly impact an organization both inside and outside of the finance department.

Table 1: The Results of Financial Transformation


You should be convinced by now that your organization must embark on a financial transformation strategy; otherwise it will be left behind. But this is easier said than done. You need a guide, so I’m here to help. In order to transform your finance department, I encourage you to heed the following recommendations:

  • Commit to change. Not only should your processes be updated to become more efficient and valuable, but the technology your organization uses must be able to support new models for your finance function.
  • Identify and deploy key technology. Your technology is the foundation for your success. Make sure that your solutions provide the functionality you need to complete tasks accurately and within compliance.
  • Consider in-memory analytics. These solutions enable finance departments to do more with the data that is available to them. They can consume larger amounts of data to make quicker, more agile, and more effective decisions as well as keep a constant eye on the factors that impact the business.
  • Provide real-time visibility. It is important the all financial data is accurate and timely regardless of the use case. Old or inaccurate data could only lead to bad decisions or fines.
  • Induce collaboration. Today’s finance department needs to be collaborative, both internally and externally. Whether with the line of business, business partners, or regulatory bodies, collaboration is now demanded of the finance team.
  • Facilitate financial processes. There is an opportunity to automate and digitize many of the financial processes that were formerly complex. This will reduce costs and improve accuracy. Think of the myriad functions that comprise your finance department. Alleviating their burden will allow you to do more with your employees.

By following these recommendations, your finance department can be an essential source for organizational decision-making and improvement.

high-performing finance

For more information, read my research at or investigate the financial solutions on SAP’s website.


About Nick Castellina, Research Director, Aberdeen Group

Nick Castellina is the Research Director for the Aberdeen Group’s Business Planning and Execution practice. Castellina joined Aberdeen in 2010; with his primary research focused on the use of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. His enterprise applications research explores how ERP is used differently across industries, and how it can apply to all roles within the organization. To round out his research practice, Castellina leads yearly studies on Enterprise Performance Management, Business Process Management, Professional Services Automation, and project management. His financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting research has extended his coverage into more general financial management topics, including tax management, accounting, reporting, compliance, treasury and risk, and the office of the CFO. In addition to these topics, Castellina plays a major part in the development of the Aberdeen Business Review.