Magazine article Global Finance

What Technology Can Do for CFOs

Magazine article Global Finance

What Technology Can Do for CFOs

Article excerpt

It'S MAKING THEM FAR MORE POWERFUL BUT CHARGING THEM WITH MUCH GREATER REPONSIBILITY

Technology is placing unprecedented power-and responsibility-in the hands of the chief financial officer of the global corporation. The CFO can not only provide the same general ledger entries and accounting computations faster, more accurately, and with far fewer people than before, but can also come up with the strategic financial information that will make a critical difference to the company's success. CFOs can-and mustdetermine the key performance indicators for each of the company's business units and how they might be measured and the process monitored. And they have to oversee the purchase and implementation of a multimilliondollar system that will deliver this information in a cost-effective, timely, and user-friendly wayacross time zones as well as currency and regulatory boundaries.

In the stories that follow, Global Finance looks at the major directions that systems development is taking in consolidating enterprisewide data and turning it into timely, critically important information; explains how the intranet will be increasingly employed in delivering and disseminating this information throughout the company; and explores the issues involved in investing in technology at a time when a system can become obsolete in a matter of months.

"The 1990s CFO must understand the new technologies, their strengths and their weaknesses," says Jean C. Monty, president and chief executive officer of Northem Telecom (Nortel) in Ontario, Canada, which supplies digital networks worldwide. …

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