FERF’s Latest Research on Data Analytics Strategies in Finance Reveals State of the Industry

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Second Report in Series from FEI’s Affiliate Finds that Investment in Data Management is Increasing, Dedicated Staff are Being Appointed

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“Data analytics may help revolutionize organizations by providing finance functions with the tools needed to generate deeper, more holistic insights to drive organizational strategy and growth,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE, Pres & CEO of FEI and FERF.

The Financial Education & Research Foundation (FERF), the independent non-profit research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI), today released a follow-up to Data: The Strategic Asset a collaboration with Ernst & Young LLP, which reviews how companies analyze data. The report titled Data Analytics: How Companies Analyze Data includes results from a survey of 340 FEI members and interviews with financial leaders who are pioneering their organizations’ continued adoption and development of data analytics.

“Data analytics may help revolutionize organizations by providing finance functions with the tools needed to generate deeper, more holistic insights to drive organizational strategy and growth. Yet, the findings indicate that, for many, this evolving role of finance is a long-distant reality,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE, President and CEO of Financial Executives International and Financial Education & Research Foundation.

Data Analytics: How Companies Analyze Data identified three distinct categorizations for finance functions based on the degree to which a given function has defined plans and projects in place for data analytics. Each of the three categorizations yielded meaningful insights into perceptions and actions surrounding data analytics; namely, levels of investment (past and future) in data analytics, perceived talent sufficiency and the degree of sophistication of their data infrastructure. Discussions with finance leaders uncovered a framework for finance teams to utilize as they progress and introduce analytics that can inform current and future business decisions.

Those three stages of the data analytics journey are:
1. Vanguard — 27.5 percent of respondents have defined plans and projects.
2. Novice — 60.5 percent of respondents have data analytics projects, but only as needed.
3. Laggard—12 percent of respondents do not report having anything currently planned.

Key findings include:

A majority of finance teams are still at the onset of their data finance journey.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents indicated that their finance function has initiated ad hoc or defined data analytics plans and projects. Notably, within the Vanguard category, nearly half of the respondents also indicated installing dedicated data analytics leaders at the departmental level.

Journey status is no indication of investment levels.

Overall, investment in data analytics resources over the last 24 months has been relatively conservative with 42 percent of survey respondents investing minimal amounts, 46 percent investing moderate amounts and only 12 percent investing significant amounts.

CFOs rule data analytics.

Sixty-six percent of survey respondents indicated that the CFO is responsible for the governance and delivery of their organization’s data analytics programs/projects.

FERF’s Data: Data Analytics: How Companies Analyze Data report is available online at http://www.financialexecutives.org/Research.

About Financial Education & Research Foundation, Inc.
Financial Education & Research Foundation (FERF) is the non-profit 501(c)(3) research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI). FERF researchers identify key financial issues and develop impartial, timely research reports for FEI members and nonmembers alike, in a variety of publication formats. FERF relies primarily on voluntary tax-deductible contributions from corporations and individuals, and publications can be ordered by logging onto http://www.financialexecutives.org/Research.

About FEI
Financial Executives International (FEI) is the leading advocate for the views of corporate financial management. Its more than 10,000 members hold policy-making positions as chief financial officers, treasurers and controllers at companies from every major industry. FEI enhances member professional development through peer networking, career management services, conferences, research and publications. Members participate in the activities of more than 65 Chapters in the U.S. FEI is located in Morristown, NJ. Visit http://www.financialexecutives.org for more information.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

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