How CFOs undertake successful analytics projects

Unlocking value with analytics


In brief

  • Organizations underestimate the complexity of capturing and maintaining quality data as well as its potential to improve decision making.
  • CFOs view data as their most critical tool, yet many finance leaders do not believe they have the right to play in the analytics space.
  • When CFOs get involved in the analytics agenda, they can change the conversation around key decisions and provide differentiated value.


It all starts with CFOs focusing their efforts on solving a key business problem. They partner across functions and business lines to define success, and then to test an initial hypothesis.

In what we call “strategic scaling” the CFO works with advanced analytics and data teams to solve bigger problems. Analytics pilots rapidly source and model live data and compare results against success criteria.

When CFOs follow this approach to provide actionable insights, their organizations realize exponential benefits, with a greater than 10x return on investment. Early adopters are harnessing the data available to deliver value to their organizations.

Taking on analytics

81% of CFOs are focused on identifying and targeting new areas of value across the enterprise and using technology to do it.

75% of CFOs in our research say they alone are the logical choice to become the ultimate authority of the organization’s data.

76% of CFOs believe finance is better than other functions at combining different data sets.

Critical success factors

We have identified five factors that are critical to CFOs’ success in taking on analytics initiatives:

  1. Building consensus. The CFO should understand the perspectives of the different groups involved, what outcomes they desire and how they measure success.
  2. Getting the data right. The CFO can partner with the IT organization to map the current state of data and the data pipeline, and to chart the investments required to meet objectives.
  3. Developing the necessary talent. The CFO takes the lead in talent development, ensuring current team members have the skills needed to become comfortable with planning and advising rather than recording and reporting.
  4. Innovating to build capability. Successful CFOs use different methods of creating needed capability, including partnering with external providers of platforms, data and services.
  5. Winning early and often. We have seen CFOs post early wins by delivering insights and showcasing value to be captured. This gains the trust of business partners, increases credibility and supports rapid scaling of successful pilots across the enterprise.

“When applied to the right business problem, finance-led analytics can unlock significant value for the enterprise.”

— MONIKA WOOD, Founder & Sr. Principal – MW Consulting, Inc.


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