How Data Can Help Finance Become Bolder

The modern CFO must drive a company’s strategy for growth, providing data-inspired insight across the enterprise to develop new sources of value and smarter revenue-generating opportunities.

While the slick sales team on the first floor brings in the new business, management on the next floor up processes and controls the orders. Traditionally the finance team meanwhile would be the team monitoring the business; reporting on it and assessing the risk of whether it was right to continue working with these new customers and partners. It might lack the glamor of sales and the seniority of senior management, but it’s a critical task nonetheless.

But that finance role is changing. And it’s changing quickly. In this era of rapid digital transformation, demands for business agility and big data, it’s time for chief financial officers (CFOs) to spread their wings and become the value creators. It’s time for finance to fly.

What do we mean by becoming value creators? The modern finance department—with the CFO at its helm—needs to use its understanding of complex data and its experience in global risk to accelerate smart, strategic growth. Change from being a financial steward to being a growth champion, empowering the business to target, win, and retain new business.  

You may be doing this to some extent already, but in reality the day-to-day duties of financial reporting, monitoring and other financial health checks dilute the opportunity to drive this growth.

Why is it so important to become a value creator? Because we all operate in a business world dominated by speed. A world in which the Samsung Galaxy is a transformative piece of technology one minute—and a melted piece of plastic the next. A world in which Volkswagen’s credibility as a reliable and trusted brand can disappear in a cloud of false emissions smoke. In a second, risk can become opportunity and opportunity can become risk. That means you need real-time business insight like never before to drive business growth.

A Risk Intelligence Platform Inspires Business Growth

A risk intelligence platform is vitally important for a modern CFO—and is a catalyst to being a value creator. It enables finance to find answers to the most challenging credit questions and share them across the company. That way finance can zero in on what’s important for the business—be it data on an individual company or the amount of risk across your entire portfolio. Ultimately, a risk intelligence platform enables the CFO to make financial decisions faster, so they spend more time contributing to the growth of the business.

Take predictive analytics, for example—a key component of a risk intelligence platform. Precise, perceptive tools can help to discover opportunities for growth in a sluggish economic climate and an increasingly competitive landscape. For example, you can use predictive analytics risk intelligence to identify extreme-risk companies, predicting the probability that a credit applicant or customer will never pay. Or, you can use the analytics to compare the most predictive business risk indicators, providing a highly reliable assessment for use in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.

The bottom line is that a risk intelligence platform—like one from Dun & Bradstreet— helps the modern CFO lead at the helm of data-inspired growth. They can really understand where the true value lies in their customer base: where the healthiest customers are with the greatest propensity to purchase, and where the business is under-represented.

Whether these customers are part of robust, multinational organisations and require a global view of credit, or they are currently underutilising credit limits, such challenges can be eased when data is organised in an intuitive, digestible way to empower the entire business for growth.

By becoming the authority on where profitable growth lies—across relationships, regions and geographies—financial decision makers can alter the course of the organisation’s strategic future: playing a key role in accelerating sales revenues.