CFOs in the Life Sciences industry have a unique set of standards and challenges to meet.
While today’s finance teams provide high quality processing services at a low cost, inefficiencies often deprive the CFO Office of the ability to operate at a strategic level and provide valuable insight to the enterprise.
Recent trends point to a changing, growing role of the CFO Office and related finance departments in Life Sciences today.
This trend has impacted Life Sciences greatly, as CFOs are increasingly required to implement and maintain unprecedented levels of collaboration with business operations like contract-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes. Additionally, the expectation of assuming a more prominent role in defining a company’s overall strategy has increased the value and complexity of finance teams. Today, the finance function works to align operations with financial goals and to ensure a high return-on-investment (ROI) from multiple vantage points. This alignment is derived from the proper prioritization and allocation of spend, and measuring the subsequent benefits.
For today's Life Sciences CFOs, the cultivation of high performing finance teams designed to anticipate needs and equipped with the dexterity to adapt is essential.
Today, the spirit to challenge traditional methods combined with an acute awareness of stakeholder needs proves effective in diverse markets. In short, the CFO in Life Sciences organizations need to motivate and depend on the right people to ensure measurability and the capacity to innovate. With this in mind, three fundamental goals are driving Life Sciences CFO's to build a better, leaner finance organization: Operational Excellence, Reporting & Analytics and Knowledge Management.
- Operational Excellence: Support simplification and effectiveness of the enterprise, as well as change-readiness and transparency, through assessment of and potential centralization, standardization, streamlining and automation of processes. Enable consistency that enables the organization to implement changes once, quickly and effective to the entire enterprise, and allow for quick and seamless integrations of or with new enterprises.
- Reporting & Analytics: Power the intelligent, accountable and compliant enterprise by developing and/or optimizing data visualization and dashboards, metrics reporting, regulatory reporting, transactional reporting, as well as predictive modeling and analytics. Realize evolving and changing asset classes in the market and capitalize on opportunities for incremental process improvements. Identifying and reporting on valuable KPIs and ensuring alignment of these indicators to the overall strategy.
- Knowledge Management: Develop and implement awareness, tracking/reporting and communication of results from initiatives the Finance organization dispenses funds to, as well as related IT and PMO groups. Support methods for such initiatives to be assessed, prioritized, and measured against common financial and operational criteria, as well as identify trends to help optimize spend and/or compare results more effectively.
Intelligent Finance Function
To achieve an intelligent finance function that operates under best practices, the department has to be properly supported and integrated into the rest of the business. Only under these circumstances can leaders focus on value creations, exception management and analysis.
As finance organizations struggle with process disruptions, cashflow management, budgeting and planning and compliance, providing a standardized set of processes across the organization coupled with a standard method of training to ensure individuals receive consistent information is a step in the right direction.
The pathway to creating intelligent finance function is to create uniform documentation to employ a consistent way of doing business, as well as ensuring all process changes are vetted across the organization - allowing the organization to support finance operations that are lean and flexible for today's changing business environment.