In today’s competitive economic landscape, professional services organizations understand that in order to keep growing their business they need to demonstrate strong leadership and vision. Customers today are unforgiving. Especially in the professional services world, any sign of instability or weakness can result in catastrophic consequences. In light of this reality, the top brass within service organizations are looking to build a strong unified vision incorporating the needs of both the strategic stakeholders that set the goals and the tactical teams that are responsible for executing results. At the center of this dynamic lives the CFO.
Long gone are the days of the purely “bean counting” 1960’s Mad Men Layne Pryce approach to CFO leadership. Today’s effective Chief Financial Officer is a key strategic thinker binding the CEO’s vision with the “working troupes” of the organization while maintaining their fiduciary duty to company shareholders and customers alike. Balancing the far reaching goals set by the executive team in a fiscally responsible manner require today’s CFO to have a complete understanding of the entire landscape of the businesses they serve. This is especially true in the professional services world where the most important asset lies with its people. In a world where “Information Workers” drive success, it’s the role of the executive team to orchestrate the direction of their talent to deliver the expected value demanded by customers. As for the CFO, his or her role within this team has evolved helping balance the profitability of the organization, while ensuring the most strategic investments are made, impacting the bottom line delivery of short term, mid-term and long term goals set forth by the service organization. This expanding role demands a more engaged CFO who can effectively collaborate and navigate all levels within the organization.
In a recent study conducted by PSVillage the correlation of growth and profitability and the role of the CFO is clear:
“The study revealed that services executives who have strong working relationships with their CFOs lead the most profitable and highest growth services organizations.”
For the CFO, teamwork is not just an idealistic philosophy set forth to motivate the troupes. Research has shown that in the services industry a CFO’s focus on continuously fostering relationships among executives, management and the people on the front line will directly impact the company’s performance.
In line with the CFO’s expanding leadership role in contributing to the success of professional services organizations, today’s PSA solutions have become the technology platform of choice delivering a single source of the truth across the value chain. In the early days of Professional Services Automation, PSA solutions would typically pitch a more tactical offering filling the missing gaps among Front Office (CRM), Middle Office (Project Management) and Back Office (Accounting/Finance) systems. Today’s leading PSA solutions have widened their audience. Increasingly, the value of analytics and collaboration offered by PSA solutions have come to the forefront. CFOs continuously leverage their PSA platform to slice and dice the critical information captured to not only facilitate their job in managing the finances of tactical day to day work, but to also identify strategic investment opportunities for growth. With the CFO’s expanding role, the PSA solution has become the primary vehicle to quickly deliver information to all levels in the organization igniting smarter decisions and anticipating future trends and issues impacting the organization’s overall success.
About the Author: Neil Stolovitsky has over 15 years of IT experience with end-user, consulting, and vendor organizations, along with extensive expertise in business development, software selection, and channel strategies. He has published numerous white papers and articles covering Professional Services Automation, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for service industries, Project Portfolio Management, IT Governance, and New Product Development to a global audience. Neil currently holds the position of Senior Solution Consultant with Upland Software.
To learn more about Upland Software’s Enterprise PSA offering PSA go to: uplandsoftware.com/psa