Florham Park, N.J. — Corporate performance management is a key business issue for CFOs from a variety of vertical industries--including insurance--and technology in the form of high data quality is key to getting there. That’s the conclusion drawn by researchers at Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF)—the Florham Park, N.J., research affiliate of Financial Executives International (FEI)—and FEI’s Committee on Finance & Information Technology. Its 15,000 members hold policy-making positions as chief financial officers, treasurers and controllers at companies from every major industry.

In association with Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif. , FERF released the results of its 10th annual “Technology Issues for Financial Executives” survey earlier this month.

The survey, which targeted 649 CFOs, 63 of which represented financial services organizations and 23 from insurance companies, covered a number of critical issues, chief among them data quality/information integrity, which retained its position as the most pervasive concern (according to 42% of the respondents). Nearly 70% of respondents (an increase of eight percentage points from last year) reported that information integrity was negatively impacting business performance.

And although 68% of respondents (compared to 61% last year) reported they plan to invest in CPM-based technologies, less than half of respondents reported they have formal, ongoing programs to monitor and report on information integrity. Even among organizations with more than $5 billion in annual revenue, only about seven in 10 have existing programs.

“Given the importance of information integrity and the broadly shared belief that the lack of information integrity is negatively impacting business performance, it’s somewhat surprising that more organizations don’t already have improvement programs and measurement mechanisms in place,” said FEI President and CEO Michael Cangemi.

Yet CFOs seem convinced that getting the most bang for their IT buck is a priority (organizationally, 41% of the study’s reporting organizations have CIOs reporting to CFOs), and are willing to spend the money to get there. CFOs are concerned with “achieving the expected benefits from information technology investments,” reports the study. A new topic on this year’s survey, this matter ranked second overall, with 34% of respondents rating it as a critical issue. In addition, information technology spending is expected to increase somewhat in the next year, continuing a trend of modest increases during the past several years.

The 10th annual survey reflects the participation of 629 financial officers who are FEI members. Approximately 75% are CFOs for their organization. All company sizes and industry sectors were represented. The vast majority of respondents, 83 percent, represent entities. Another 15% represent Canadian organizations, and 2% represent non-North American entities.

A downloadable copy of Technology Issues for Financial Executives can be found at www.csc.com/FEIsurvey2008.

Source: Financial Executives Research Foundation

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