Why CFOs are wary of PETS...

20 February 2018

Many CFOs are making do with existing processes and technologies because change is difficult when there’s work to be done and when the specific change that's needed isn’t obvious (I recall a project called “Summit” because the Director, a Yorkshireman, simply said "Summat 'as to change!").

CFOs find benchmarking their function's performance - in the softest sense - difficult because good practice is not often shared freely (or succinctly) and research time is precious. Research undertaken (purportedly) on behalf of the CFO community is costly and often tainted with product or, worse, dogma bias.

The CFO needs an advisory community which makes an investment in researching and understanding PETS (Process Enhancing Technologies and Services) which make a real difference to the performance of the finance function ideally with very little or no capital spend relative to the savings and benefits. Big spends are very easy to identify from the corner of a desk and there is no shortage of purveyors of big ideas... "no one gets fired for hiring..."

Experience of implementing these tools from a pragmatic basis, focused on benefits realisation and on project cash flow would mean that projects are focused and credible. Stakeholder confidence in the delivery of benefits increases as the benefits accrue and are tracked.

Assisting with the identification of the PETS opportunity, the criteria for the service provision, the selection criteria and assessment of the vendor is a real need. The final part - the management of the implementation - from planning through to benefit realisation and from process redesign to root-cause analysis is an optional extra but for many CFOs, additional bandwidth to aid project certainty.

Software vendors are often focused entirely on “acquiring badges”, licence revenue, and prefer to optimise profitability by minimising the person-hours in each deployment to maximise licence revenue per person-hour. In this way, they run a leaner “bench” and have much less project risk. They crave well-informed, credible and honest delivery partners.

The CFO Advisory community might like to sit up and take note of the opportunity.

For more information, contact Jim Muir (consulting@aab.uk) of the AAB Consulting Associate Network, or your usual AAB contact.

Latest Posts

Get the AAB Blog Digest