For CFOs, a Crash Course in Tech

To comply with strict new financial-reporting rules, they're turning to systems that can provide vital info accurately and quickly

Ralph Packard, chief financial officer of mutual-fund company Vanguard Group, calls his adventures of the past five years "Tour de Finance" -- a play on the world's most challenging bike race, the Tour de France. Packard has been replacing Vanguard's decentralized and somewhat antiquated financial-reporting systems with software from a single supplier that speeds decision-making and cuts costs. "When we're finished, in one or two years, it will all be new," says Packard. "Then," he laughs, "we'll work on implementing next-generation software."

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