Asian CFOs Find ‘Information Overload’ Hampers Decision-making

Asia’s chief financial officers (CFOs) are expanding their responsibilities beyond financial functions, but complain that inaccurate, out-of-date data is slowing them down, according to a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The EIU report, entitled ‘Beyondspreadsheets: How the new breed of CFO makes decisions’ and sponsored by Qlik is based on a survey of 100 Asia-based senior executives with responsibility for company finances. According to the survey, 63% of respondents say their job entails analysing all available information, yet 47% say their decision making is slowed down by information overload.

Being able to process greater volumes of information is an increasing focus for CFOs, with 74% of survey respondents saying that data analysis will be useful in the future when making long-term strategic decisions.

The survey also finds that:

  • Fifty-two per cent of CFOs also see data accuracy as the biggest obstacle to doing their job.
  • Nearly all (94%) say they will need more IT expertise in the next three years.
  • CFOs feel let down by IT vendors, with 44% saying their suppliers are purposefully not making data tools easy to use.
  • Forty-six per cent point to access to real-time data as a problem and 43% cite integrating complex data from different sources.

“This report paints a picture of CFOs having to make decisions but getting bogged down by the data analytics that they feel are needed to make those decisions,” said Charles Ross, the report’s editor. “But instead of a big revamp in technology, CFOs are looking at additional training and multiple small investments to help generate insights from data.”

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