Better visibility

24 June 2009
Results of the Basware report we cover in the latest issue reveal some positive results. Over half of financial decision makers think we are becoming more strategic. Good news. But there are also some less positive findings – the main among them that 36 per cent believe purchasing is “still largely administrative”. Plus, only just over a quarter of chief financial officers share the view that procurement has a positive effect on profitability or growth. If there is one thread connecting these negative findings, it may be what the report calls “the efficiency of data” which continues to be a problem for CFOs in the UK, US and beyond. There are many organisations, products and programmes that can help buyers improve in this area, and many buying departments use them to achieve excellent visibility of what they spend. Nonetheless not everybody is and even those that are making the savings may not be communicating them well enough throughout their organisation or to their finance colleagues. Hence the survey findings. When we reported on Homeserve’s victory in last year’s CIPS/SM Awards, this was one of the key things they were doing – reporting on a monthly basis exactly how the savings made were impacting P&L. I’m sure their CFO was in no doubt about their “effect on profitability and growth”. As we have covered previously the successful Homeserve team has now been disbanded. I would be very interested to hear from other organisations who have cracked this problem. The number of CFOs convinced of the positive effect (27 per cent) may not be a terribly impressive figure but it means lots of organisations have collected and presented their savings in such a way that they are able to demonstrate how they meet the aims of the finance department. I’m sure the rest of SM’s readers will be interested to hear how you have done it.
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