Finance Leaders Face More Cuts in Staffing and Budgets in 2013 As They
Attack the New "Borderless Business Environment"
The Hackett Group's Research Identifies Four Key Issues for Finance in 2013
MIAMI & LONDON -- April 23, 2013
Despite continued cuts in staffing and budgets this year, finance
organizations are compelled to respond to the challenges and opportunities
presented by the new 'borderless business environment' according to 2013 Key
Issues research from The Hackett Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HCKT). The new study
details how finance leaders are forging ahead with high-value analytics and
business partnering programs while continuing to work on reducing operational
The Hackett Group's research found several imperatives shaping the CFO's
finance strategy in 2013: fostering the agility required to achieve enhanced
profitability, profit goals, and add value while reducing costs and staff;
concentrating skills to improve ability to scale; implementing best practices
to eliminate unnecessary work as they move towards a more standardized, global
service delivery approach; maturing enterprise process ownership by working
across functional, business unit, and geographic borders; and using data more
effectively to drive actionable strategies.
"For 2013 finance leaders, like the rest of business services, are responding
to the dramatic shift we're seeing in the global business environment,"
explained Jeffrey S. Rosengard, Principal, Global Finance Advisory Practice
Leader, The Hackett Group. "Volatility remains high, and aggressive revenue
growth targets are the norm. The 'Borderless Business' concept is that
organizations must challenge their previous notions about how finance can
support the broader business challenges. It is highly likely that future
revenue growth will come from outside their traditional markets and that
requires organizations to draw a line between global versus local control in
all of their business processes. Internally, functional borders between
business services operations are also coming down in the wake of
cross-enterprise, end-to-end process ownership. Finally, there are
dramatically fewer barriers to service delivery placement, with Global
Business Services operations able to provide seamless support to internal
customers and external trading partners.
"All this has created a new requirement for finance to improve agility and
achieve new levels of efficiency and effectiveness through a focus on
standardization, globalization, and an expansion of the technology-enabled
model for service delivery," said Mr. Rosengard. "More than ever, finance
leaders must be able to look beyond the four walls of their department. They
must be able to anticipate and adapt to things like changes in the business
environment, economic shifts, competitive moves, and new business
opportunities. This need to predict the future and adjust on the fly makes
flexibility and analytical skills highly valuable traits for finance talent."
While company revenue is expected to rise by 6.5 percent in 2013, finance
operating budgets are expected to drop by 1.2 percent and staffing levels are
expected to see a 3 percent drop, the study found. There is some variation in
outlook among companies, but less than 30 percent anticipate staff increases.
Given growth expectations, the results show an implied productivity gap of up
to 10 percent in finance.
The Hackett Group's study found a significant change in priorities for 2013,
with a shift towards a more strategic view of finance's role. For the first
time, finance executives ranked improving data quality as the number one
priority, above cost reduction. In addition, they indicated an active interest
in talent management and customer satisfaction.
Most finance executives have ambitious globalization plans for the finance
function in 2013, the study found, hoping to more than double the penetration
of global standards over the next two to three years in reporting, technology
platform, master data, and several other key areas. But The Hackett Group
cautioned finance to be pragmatic about its globalization plans, given the
limited funds and staff resources available.
In direct response to pressure from internal customers, finance organizations
are also focusing heavily on partnering with the business on analytical and
decision-support services, the study found. Most finance organizations
recognize that changing their service mix will require transformation in
delivery methods, and have significant transformation projects identified for
2013 and beyond with planning and performance management, process improvement
and reducing the amount of time and resource invested in transaction
processing at the top of the priority list.
Finance organizations are also increasing their already substantial reliance
on technology, the study found. Rolling out Web-based and self-service tools
was identified as the leading technology priority for 2013, followed closely
by business analytics and also improvements in data governance and
Finally, the study found that four of the top 11 issues for finance in 2013
involve talent. Finance organizations are set to increase their efforts in
career development and succession planning. As the role of finance changes,
executives are giving considerable attention to acquiring and developing staff
with new skills to match new requirements. Talent retention is another
critical program area for 2013, the study found, in part driven by fears that
many valuable finance staff may begin to look elsewhere as the economy
The Hackett Group's 2013 Finance Key Issues Research, "2013 Finance Agenda:
Moving Toward Borderless Business Services," is available on a complimentary
basis, following registration, at:
About The Hackett Group
The Hackett Group (NASDAQ:HCKT), a global strategic business advisory and
operations improvement consulting firm, is a leader in best practice advisory,
business benchmarking, and transformation consulting services including
strategy and operations, working capital management, and globalization advice.
Utilizing best practices and implementation insights from more than 8,500
benchmarking studies, executives rely on The Hackett Group's empirically-based
approach to quickly define and implement initiatives that enable world-class
performance. Through its REL consulting division, The Hackett Group offers
working capital solutions focused on delivering cash flow improvements. The
Hackett Group's Strategy & Operations practice offers consulting services in
the Consumer and Industrial Products, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, and
Financial Services industry sectors. Through its Hackett Technology Solutions
group, The Hackett Group offers business application consulting services that
help maximize returns on IT investments.
The Hackett Group has completed benchmark studies with over 3,500 major
corporations and government agencies, including 97% of the Dow Jones
Industrials, 84% of the Fortune 100, 87% of the DAX 30 and 48% of the FTSE
More information on The Hackett Group is available: by phone at (770)
225-7300; by e-mail at email@example.com; or online at
The Hackett Group
Gary Baker, 917-796-2391
Global Communications Director
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.