26 March 2014

Core data will be the most important natural resource of the 21st century

2 out of 3 CFOs tell us that growth and innovation is their main strategic priority. Above and beyond exports and internationalisation, the Belgian CFO wishes to focus on the development of new products and technologies. This approach calls for a different policy. While more than 90% of CFOs acknowledge that, to date, they have based their policy decisions exclusively on financial data, they would like to move to decisions based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and dashboards in the near future. These are the main findings of a recent BDO Belgium survey of Belgian CFOs.

Grégoire Talbot, BDO Reporting Partner, says: “BDO recently launched a survey among Belgian CFOs. The survey clearly reveals that confidence in the Belgian economy is growing, but also that the crisis has forced the entrepreneur to think differently and to change the companies’ policy. If a business wants to focus on growth and product development, it has to know its operations, processes and organisation through and through. 1 in 2 CFOs say that it is precisely this complexity that presents the main problem today. Although 93% of CFOs currently take strategic decisions on the basis of financial reporting alone, 63% say that in the very near future they would like to evolve towards policy decisions based on KPIs (including operational ones) and dashboards.”

The importance of the right core data

Core data on your customers, employees, products and market have become an indispensable natural resource. Without a doubt, businesses that succeed in gathering, structuring and managing these data will become the top competitors of tomorrow. It is therefore becoming ever more critical that an entrepreneur is able to make the right decisions quickly, based not only on accounting information and financial reports, but also the right KPIs and a number of significant forecasts (Big Data).

Belgian CFOs - who are becoming ever more closely involved in the business side of the business - have everything to gain from developing a set of company-specific KPIs, alongside the traditional accounting figures, that not only provides information but also reveals trends and therefore clearly visualises the effects of current business policy. The results are displayed in visual dashboards, useful evaluation tools, that help the CFO make well-informed and correct strategic decisions.

Grégoire Talbot, BDO Reporting Partner, adds: “In future, an entrepreneur will want to be much quicker in identifying the decisive factors that affect his or her profitability and help control his or her costs. BDO Reporting is a team of experts that specialises in the visualisation of business performance. It also guides the business through the automation of data and information flows. This gives the entrepreneur a basis from which to develop his or her plans for the future.”

At the next Belgian entrepreneurs’ summit in Deauville, to be held between 27 and 30 March, Grégoire Talbot will give a fascinating “best practice workshop” on this subject.