Lost profit: the growth problem that CFOs don’t know they have

Achieving growth is on every CFOs list of corporate goals, but many don’t know how much profit they’re actually missing out on. And because they don’t know about it, they don’t know it’s even a problem. A lot of this comes down to the way that CFOs look at financial data when it comes to advising on business decisions.

Even forward-thinking teams with access to a good BI platform will experience a disconnect between information, insight, action, and crucially, measurement. The way that finance functions are reviewing the figures and preparing reports are rarely conducive to producing tangible calls for action or measurable change within the business. 

Yes, you have more access to more data than ever before, giving you a detailed picture of how the company is performing. But in order for that to mean anything truly valuable, you need to focus on the specifics. 

All too often, the really valuable insights gleaned from data sit in a commentary on an executive dashboard and never get out to the rest of the business. Even companies with finance business partner models are not translating insights into measurable and scalable action.

So how do you turn all this great data into real improvements? Like most things these days, you acknowledge that people change realities and enable them with technology.

Finding £4m in 13,000 reporting lines

Edwardian Hotels is using intelligent analysis platform Quorso to drive consistency and efficiency across 12 of its locations. The platform analysed 13,000 lines in the company’s profit and loss to find opportunities to boost profit. In its first run-through, the engine found that the company could save £6,000 on newspapers in one of its locations – once found and actioned, it turned out the hotel was being charged for a once-complementary paper. By cancelling all of the outstanding subscriptions, the company instantly added thousands to its bottom line. Another area, which was complex but critical to hotels operations was staff deployment, which was tweaked to ensure that employees were deployed in the right places at the right times.

The information and recommendations generated by the platforms went directly to frontline managers, who were able to divide their time on prioritised actions and make more informed decisions. Overall, the programme has generated £4m of additional profit for Edwardian.

Sharing the workload with AI creates more value

Edwardian got the results they got by deploying technology in a strategic way. They used AI to reduce the number of questions that needed answering, so humans could work on the most urgent decisions and the most likely wins.  A machine can scan many more lines of data than you can. By alerting you to the anomalies, opportunities and inefficiencies within the profit and loss, you can spend more time turning that into tasks for the managers across your organisation.

Together, the AI gave people time to turn insight into measurable action, and the tool created an audit trail for managers to ensure actions were taken in a timely way, guaranteeing beneficial action where there were none before.

Next week: Turning analytics into action

This article is co-authored by Generation CFO’s Christopher Argent and Phil Thorne at Quorso. Request a demo of Quorso’s platform today.


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