Crystal Ball Image Source GriloFresh from announcing a successful third quarter in which the OneStream saw ARR grow by 50% year over year, the company has published a new report entitled “Enterprise Financial Decision-Makers Outlook – October 2022”. The study is based on a survey of 657 finance leaders in North America (though 15% of respondents were from outside this region) conducted by Hanover Research. Primarily it looks at the challenges and budget priorities for 2023.

The report, alongside the results announcement, is a timely reminder that firms are digitising finance. Also, that OneStream is taking advantage of this trend. In the third quarter alone, it added 60 new customers, including Stellantis, Marelli, and The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management.

Tom Shea, CEO OneStream
Tom Shea, CEO OneStream

Tom Shea, CEO at OneStream, commented: “Digital transformation is essential for success in today’s challenging economic conditions. Replacing multiple legacy CPM applications, spreadsheets and point solutions, OneStream serves as a single source of truth throughout a growing number of organizations, allowing them to align financial and operational strategies while staying agile amid economic challenges.

“By enabling Finance leaders with unified financial systems and processes, organizations are equipped with the data and insights to enact rapid decision-making and drive efficiencies amid continued change.”

What are Financial Decision-Makers Saying?

The new report is 34 pages long and, after an executive summary, is divided into four main chapters: Economic Condition, Talent, ESG & DEI Plans and Machine Learning and Technology. The executive summary is lengthy and highlights the objective, segmentations, key findings and recommendations derived from the report. It is laid out clearly and more comprehensively than most other executive summaries.

The economic condition focuses on the concerns faced by finance leaders. 47% predict that economic disruption is the biggest business risk (47%), a rise of 17% from Spring 2022. The talent shortage is second (17%).

Perhaps worryingly, finance leaders see price increases (56%) as the biggest way to defeat inflation, which seems self-defeating. Other methods include slowing hiring or reducing operational costs (47%) and renegotiating with suppliers (39%). Most (62%) of Finance leaders also predict that the recession and inflation will continue through 2023 or beyond.

The survey dives very little into the talent issue. It shows that when hiring, finance leaders are seeking soft skills more than finance skills. However, it is unclear if technical skills were an option in the survey. The gender pay gap is also an issue, with 53% saying it acts as a deterrent for recruitment.

DEI (47%) and ESG (48%)  are likely to have increased investment in 2023, with only 8% and 6% of finance leaders investing less during 2023. However, the question did not ask whether this was a monetary or percentage change. As with the Sage CFO report earlier this year, many finance leaders (37%) have primary responsibility for ESG initiatives, but the story is mixed. Notably, 52% expect Corporate Performance Management software to contribute to ESG data collection and reporting.

Looking to the future, financial reporting is a key opportunity for AI/machine learning, according to 48% of respondents. Sales and revenue forecasting came a close second (41%). During 2023 48% of finance leaders plan to investigate AI/ML solutions, and 28% have already invested.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is a solid report with two good take-outs for finance leaders. Included in the executive summary, they call upon leaders to consider the benefits of AI/ML technology to improve analytics. They fall short of calling for finance leaders to consider the ROI rather than the cost, which is seen as the biggest impediment.

The second call out wisely calls for fiance leaders to adopt solutions to collate ESG data and report upon it. With increasing legislation in this area, it would be wise for organisations to do this before they are compelled to. There are some useful findings that many finance leaders may feel are insightful for their businesses.

Bill Koefoed, Chief Financial Officer, OneStream summarised, saying, “The current economic landscape will continue to challenge finance leaders and organizations well into the new year. Agility will be a key differentiator for businesses looking to succeed in the new year. Financial leaders must ensure they have the correct technology in place to accurately forecast scenarios and plan accordingly. OneStream is proud to provide our customers with an intelligent finance platform that helps them prepare for the numerous factors impacting their businesses.”


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