F&A Forecast: 2017 Predictions and Predilections

processesAs 2016 draws to a close, businesses are peering around the corner in anticipation of what the New Year will bring.

Here, we present our predictions for what 2017 will mean to F&A.

Higher Salaries = Greater Demand for Value

Salaries for accounting and finance positions will continue to rise in 2017. That’s the news according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide. Fueled by an increased demand for skilled professionals, starting salaries will increase in range from 3.0% to 4.3% in 2017, conditional on the position. The 2017 average clocks in at 3.7%, one of the highest in the past decade.

The direct outcome of this will be an increased desire (and demand) to get rid of the redundant work that reduces employee output and doesn’t create any value. Robots (from RPA to cognitive) will help humans do more of the innately human work—the work that requires creativity, abstract thinking or human judgment. Continue reading

The Weekly Roundup: F&A in Flux

F&A weekly roundupFor this week’s roundup, Sutherland’s Editorial Team presents a selection of articles that run the gamut on relevant F&A issues. IPOs, millenial workers, automation, financial transparency, the evolving CFO role and the shifting administration – it’s all here, and then some. Enjoy the reading! (Feel free to tweet us or follow us @Sutherland_iBPO to continue the conversation.)

Dos and Don’ts of the IPO

When companies go public, executives often focus almost entirely (if not solely) on external parties, from potential investors to analysts. But in looking to the outside world, the C-suite should remember not to forget about the people on the inside – their employees. At Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit, three top CFOs share their best advice on making IPOs a success for all involved. Continue reading

2017: What’s Your Email Resolution?

startup-photosAccording to a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute, the average American worker spends 28% of the workweek reading and answering email. The report didn’t specify which departments they polled, but if you ask anyone in the F&A department, many people might respond that they strive for a mere 28%.

For finance professionals, trying to stay on top of email is a losing battle. Just as you read and reply to one, another one (or two) pours in. And the very act of replying can be self-defeating as it inevitably results in a response email, increasing the futility of Inbox Zero.

Another part of the problem is that email is addictive. The anticipation or rush of new emails can trigger a surge of the chemical dopamine, a key player in our information-seeking behavior.

Perhaps even worse, email can dumb us down when it comes to performing our work. Neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin is quoted as saying: “When trying to concentrate on a task, an unread email in your inbox can reduce your effective IQ by 10 points.”

If all this sounds frighteningly familiar in your F&A department, it might be time to consider putting this atop the New Year’s resolution list: Break the email habit. Continue reading

Financial Controllers: The Year Ahead

600px-shutterstock_140576308In business, few jobs are more important than that of Financial Controller (FC). The controller oversees all general ledger, financial statements and statutory reporting, tax compliance, budgeting and transaction processing. While the duties vary depending of organizational size and F&A complexity, the FC has traditionally been seen as the person who delivers and deals with the firm’s past financial situation, while the CFO looks to the company’s future.

The Trickle-Down Effect

However, all of that is changing as the business environment and the CFO’s role evolves. In the past few years, the CFO’s duties have quickly shifted from the customary role of cost management and controls to encompass a new range of responsibilities—including strategic partner, global thinker and long-term visionary.

This has had a palpable trickle-down effect on the Financial Controller, and the line between CFO and FC has blurred. Today’s FC is expected to understand the goals of the larger organization and be dedicated to adding new value to operations.

Controllers are no longer delivering on rearview mirror reports, they are now being asked to bring more strategic value to their role in terms of analysis, reporting, automation, process improvement and forward-looking insights. In fact, a study by the IMA found that over the last 3 years 73% of controllers have boosted time spent executing strategic financial planning and analysis. Continue reading

The Weekly Roundup: Finance Trends

F&A weekly roundupWith so much change afoot in finance, it’s no wonder the CFO function is evolving at an exponential rate. Finance professionals must contend with how and when to embrace the cloud, what metrics to wrangle in forecasting corporate performance, and even whether robots are about to put them out of a job! It’s a lot to handle. Here, Sutherland presents several articles that explore the latest trends (and tribulations) of F&A. Enjoy the reading! (Feel free to tweet us or follow us @Sutherland_iBPO to continue the conversation.)

CFO on the Move

Speaking with Forbes.com contributor Jeff Thomson, Yahoo! CFO Ken Goldman weighs in on how the finance chief’s function has developed over the years – and how that evolution is poised to continue. “The CFO function has specifically increased in relevance, visibility and recognition.” Continue reading

The Future of Financial Reporting

reportingCFOs and financial controllers are feeling increasingly vulnerable as they struggle to produce forward-looking insights amidst ever-changing regulatory environment and ever-growing amounts of information.

According to a new report, “How Can Reporting Catch up With an Accelerating World?”, released in October from EY, 66 percent of respondents say the increasing volume and pace of data is significantly impacting the effectiveness of reporting. That’s up from 57 percent in 2015. The annual global report polls 1,000 CFOs or heads of reporting of large organizations across 25 countries.

Increased Complexity

These financial professionals noted that in 2016 the organizational environment intensified in complexity, as organizations added more legal entities, business units and reporting systems. A full 64 percent reported a surge in the number of reports requested by shareholders. Yet the survey goes on to say that reporting teams don’t have access to the technology or tools needed to make sense of —and actionable decisions on— vast oceans of incoming data. Continue reading

The Weekly Roundup: F&A Inside Out

F&A weekly roundupExploring the inner workings of finance can get a bit messy. Among the many issues to dissect, there’s disruptive technology, concerns over governance reporting and auditing ethics, and a brand new administration for 2017. Here are a few recent articles that get to the heart of F&A. Enjoy the reading! (Feel free to tweet us or follow us @Sutherland_iBPO to continue the conversation.)

Technologically Challenged: The CFO and the Digital World

Jon Reed, cofounder of diginomica, recently attended the Intacct Advantage enterprise show. Here, he presents key takeaways about finance leaders and technology. “For the CFO, technology has the potential to address some vexing problems. But becoming a strategic CFO involves much more than the right tools.” Continue reading

The New Agenda: Solving Business Challenges

marketing-board-strategyYears ago, Seth Godin wrote about the “race to the bottom” in which commodity producers constantly look to drive their costs to zero, and be the cheapest choice. The danger of this race, he said, is that we just might win.

Over the past 20 years, outsourcing has become synonymous with “cheaper” point solutions. Driving cost reductions was the primary motivation for organizations to send tasks to BPO providers.

However, we are witnessing a pivotal shift in the industry. Customer experience (CX) is quickly climbing to the top of the CEO agenda as companies begin to understand the impact on the bottom line.

On top of the desire to improve the customer experience, CFOs and other C-suite executives are tasked with making complex decisions on a variety of fronts. The needs for consistent and accurate reporting to guide business insights, as well as better cash management in order to act upon new opportunities or break into new markets are key to staying ahead —and surpassing— the competition. Continue reading

The Weekly Roundup: Comply, Transform, Repeat

F&A weekly roundupModern-day CFOs would be wise to adopt “flexibility and adaptability” as their credo. Finance chiefs face a steady stream of change, from new regulations and standards, to rising audit fees and a growing expectation to offer bigger, better boardroom support. For this week’s roundup, Sutherland’s Editorial Team gathered a few articles that explore the issues. Enjoy the reading! (Feel free to tweet us or follow us @Sutherland_iBPO to continue the conversation.)

New Lease on Processes: The Unexpected Benefits of Changing Regulations

The words “compliance” and “new regulations” might strike panic, or at least distress, within the F&A department. But change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Making internal adjustments to comply with new Financial Accounting Standards Board and International Accounting Standards Board lease accounting rules provides the opportunity to streamline processes, cut costs and improve decision-making capabilities. Continue reading