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The CFO Answer Machine: Past, Present and Future Visibility for Small and Midsize Companies

Effective financial management requires the ability to understand an organization’s current condition while having visibility into its potential future state. This enables executives to make consistently better-informed decisions sooner. Unfortunately, few small and midsize businesses (SMB) have that ability because they lack the systems that make this information readily available and usable. They may not be aware that technology advances achieved over the past decade have made it possible for SMB organizations to deploy capabilities once available only to large enterprises.

All senior leadership teams need answers to the questions: “What has happened, where are we now and what should we do next?” And they need to have these answers in the context of their operations. They need to know if results were as expected or if there are matters that must be addressed. They need to know if anything about the current financial condition requires attention. They need to understand the impact decisions will have on month-by-month income, cash flow and the balance sheet. Of course, any accounting system, even paper ledgers and adding machines, can provide answers to those questions eventually. The challenge is giving executives and managers access to actionable information quickly and easily so that numbers—not just instincts—drive decisions.


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About the Author


Robert Kugel

SVP and Research Director
Ventana Research

Robert Kugel is responsible for the Office of Finance and business research, focusing on the intersection of information technology with the finance organization and business. His research agenda includes the application of IT to finance and business process optimization, looking particularly at ERP and continuous accounting, financial performance management, predictive planning, price and revenue management, revenue and lease accounting and robotic finance.