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2017 finance survey results show a need for technology modernization

Management Reporting
survey results show a need for technology modernization
2 min read

Mike Rost

SVP, Investor Relations and Corporate Development
Published: July 20, 2017
Last Updated: November 16, 2020

In late 2016, Innovation Enterprise conducted a survey of 113 private company C-suite executives and upper-level finance managers in the United States. The survey sought to better understand top strategic priorities, reporting challenges, and software needs for the finance function.

Below is a recap of the survey results. How do your company's priorities for finance compare?

Staying farsighted

Though budgeting and cybersecurity were important areas of concern, survey respondents focused on having long-term vision for their departments. Strategic planning was chosen by 42.5% of respondents as the top priority for 2017. Margins/earnings performance came in second at 30.1%, followed by periodic forecasting at 12.4%.

Executives identified roadblocks to optimal focus on strategic planning: 40.7% of respondents thought that most non-value add time was spent on manual data entry. Another 34.5% said too much time was spent on data collection, particularly during monthly reporting, which was chosen by 40.7% of respondents as the area with the greatest opportunity for improvement.

While business leaders recognized areas for improvement, a lack of budget hinders the necessary steps to attain them. A full 63.7% were planning for no investment in cloud technology to alleviate the problems above. This leaves teams with the responsibility to get creative to overcome reporting challenges.

Tools are the weak link

The most significant impediment in bridging the gap between strategic focus and areas for improvement was an underlying mismatch between the needs of modern business reporting and the technology currently used to create these reports, the survey said. Legacy tools that fail to scale and do not enable collaboration or increase data consistency increased manual efforts. However, more than a third of executives said they actively planned to invest in cloud software and collaborative work management platforms in 2017 to combat these issues.

Bridging the gap

Survey participants acknowledged that additional time gained through improvements would allow teams to analyze data beyond surface level and help management make better strategic decisions for long-term success.

Nearly half of the respondents—44.5%—said that having an additional day a week would let them provide better insights to the business.

Read the full survey to learn more about what finance leaders were focused on at the start of the year. Then see how Wdesk can help your company achieve the time-saving efficiencies that financial executives identified as the greatest need.

About the Author
illustration of mike rost at Workiva
Mike Rost

SVP, Investor Relations and Corporate Development


As senior vice president of corporate development and investor relations, Mike Rost is a key contributor to the organization's growth with a focus on corporate development initiatives, emerging business areas, and developing relationships with investors and key stakeholders. Since joining Workiva in 2015, he has served in various leadership roles helping to drive the organization's growth, including the scaling of Workiva’s marketing and partner & alliance functions.

With more than 25 years of experience assisting organizations to optimize business processes, Mike has an extensive background in finance, accounting, enterprise performance management and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) technology. Prior to Workiva, Mike served as vice president of marketing at Metricstream and vice president of strategic marketing at Thomson Reuters. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade in product management and marketing positions for SaaS companies and held finance positions at Pillsbury and Rollerblade, Inc.

Mike has been active in industry associations, including the Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG) and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). He was also a founding member of XBRL International (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), the global not for profit consortium for open international standards for digital business reporting. He has also been a frequent speaker at industry conferences on subjects such as finance transformation, data and reporting, and risk and compliance technology. He received his Bachelor of Science in Economics and his MBA from the University of Minnesota.


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