New Adaptive Insights Global Survey Reveals Modern CFOs Value a Culture of Analytics

Adaptive CFO Indicator Report Spotlights Strategic Leadership Rising; Increasing Technology Investments Amid Uncertain Market Conditions

Jun 24, 2015

Adaptive Insights, the leader in cloud corporate performance management (CPM) for the biggest brands and the hottest companies, today unveiled its Q2 2015 CFO Indicator, benchmarking CFOs’ top priorities, business strategies, and key investments. Based on a global survey of more than 325 CFOs, the Indicator shows finance is at the center of the business and well-positioned to help guide strategic, data-driven decisions across the company (70%). The majority of CFOs plan to take on more strategic leadership roles (69%) and cite a culture of analytics as a key competitive advantage in today’s business climate (56%). In today’s fast-paced world, speed is paramount, but CFOs cite a lack of time for data analysis (63%) and complex legacy technology systems (40%) as primary speed bumps to being strategic leaders.

Though modern CFOs are positively leading the charge within their own companies, their outlook on the economy, macroeconomic trends, and the broader business world is mixed. The majority of CFOs (59%) have high confidence in their regional economy, but confidence dips to 37% when global factors are considered. CFOs cite economic uncertainty (84%) and competition (81%) as top concerns, followed by product or service obsolescence (65%) and interest rates/inflation (64%). The fifth risk factor cited by 45%of global finance leaders is the outcome of upcoming national elections. While 38% of CFOs predict the number of IPOs will increase, nearly half (49%) of those who indicated that an IPO was relevant to their business admitted they are unprepared for it. CFOs are more bullish on private markets, with 69% predicting significant growth in private market funding and 38% anticipating an increase in private companies valued at or above $1 billion.

“Modern CFOs are increasing their strategic value across the organization at a critical time, managing business success through dynamic and often volatile markets. Those who lead their organizations with a culture of analytics and 360-degree view of the business have a significant advantage in managing these unforeseen macroeconomic factors, business changes, and Wall Street volatility,” said Rob Hull, founder and chairman of Adaptive Insights. “However, many CFOs face a variety of obstacles and are struggling to achieve this because they don’t have the right financial analytics tools and technologies they need to achieve business success.”

Time, inaccuracy, and legacy systems are CFOs biggest obstacles

While 70% of CFOs feel that finance is already at the center of the business and driving strategic decision-making, they crave the ability to supercharge their current success. Yet they have a strong sense of what’s holding them back:

  • Lack of time: 63% of CFOs say that the number one obstacle to upping their strategic game is that they don’t have enough time for data analysis.
  • Planning and forecasting challenges: 59% identify their strategic Achilles heel as being fragmented or inaccurate data, along with the time-consuming nature of accurate ongoing planning and forecasting.
  • Old technology, questionable corporate strategy: It’s a close race for the third biggest hindrance keeping CFOs from being more strategic. Thirty-nine percent point the finger at outdated and complex legacy systems holding them back, while 37% admit corporate strategy is lacking.

Technology investments fuel value creation

From spreadsheets to the cloud, and financial automation to business analytics, technology advancements have fueled the backbone of financial evolution and strategic decision-making. Modern CFOs have in-depth knowledge of their organizations that extends well beyond the numbers game. As a result, many CFOs are tasked with leading value creation efforts, in which the right technology investments can play a strategic role. Topping the CFO priority list, over the next two years:

  • Fifty-five percent of CFOs plan to increase their investment in financial technologies;
  • Fifty-four percent are targeting analytics tools and dashboards to support finance efforts; and
  • Forty-eight percent of CFOs are in need of reporting tools while 39% have their eye on budgeting and forecasting solutions.

To view the Q2 2015 CFO Indicator summary report, click here.

To view the Q2 2015 CFO Indicator infographic, click here.

Tweet: #CFO Indicator via @AdaptiveInsight: #Finance chiefs turn to tech, step into strategic leadership role. #ModernCFO

About the Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator

The Adaptive Insights CFO Indicator reports what is top of mind for CFOs, as well as unveils key attributes that define the modern CFO. Following the release of this Q2 2015 CFO Indicator, Adaptive Insights will be issuing a series of Indicator Briefs, providing deeper CFO insight into global, economic, and technology trends. This report surveyed more than 325 chief financial officers across the globe online over a period of 10 days ending June 10, 2015. The margin of error is +/- 5.37 percentage points.

About Adaptive Insights

Adaptive Insights is the leader in cloud corporate performance management (CPM). Via its software as a service (SaaS) platform, the company offers capabilities for budgeting, forecasting, reporting, consolidation, dashboards, and business intelligence that empower finance, sales, and other business leaders with insight to drive true competitive advantage. The Adaptive Suite is sold direct or is available through Adaptive’s robust cloud CPM channel ecosystem of 200+ partners, including Accenture, Armanino, BDO, Cohn Reznick, Intacct, KPMG, McGladrey, and Plex Systems. NetSuite also offers Adaptive Insights as its NetSuite Financial Planning Module.

More than 2,600 companies in 85 countries use Adaptive Insights. These range from mid-sized companies and nonprofits to large corporations, including AAA, Boston Scientific, CORT, Konica Minolta, NetSuite, Philips, and Siemens. Adaptive Insights is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. For more information, visit, the Adaptive Insights Blog, and follow Adaptive on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.