Half of finance staff doubt their own forecasts

Marion Dakers
LESS THAN half of the world’s financial professionals think their company’s forecasts are reliable, according to a poll by accountancy group PwC.

Just 45 per cent of the 1,500 people surveyed from 200 companies think their firm’s financial predictions are reliable, though 80 per cent accept that accurate forecasting is “critical to their business”, PwC said today as the survey was published.

Companies are nevertheless spending 0.93 per cent of their revenues on finance costs, a slight fall from 1.02 per cent a year ago.

This figure rises to 1.48 per cent in financial services firms, compared to around 0.5 per cent at companies in consumer industries.

In financial services organisations, 21 per cent of financial specialists’ working hours are spent on compliance duties, which is one-and-a-half times as high as the average across all business areas.

Meanwhile the average cost of a full-time finance worker has jumped from $83,000 in 2009 to $90,000 in the last financial year.

“Technological and management advances of recent years have enabled the best finance functions to become real-time sources of insight to the business, and more are on a mission to achieve this,” said PwC director Andrew McCorkell in a statement.

“In the current climate, an out of date or poorly performing finance function will cost a company dearly in terms of innovation and growth.”

Investing in better technology and more training for finance staff were named the best ways to improve a firm’s financial processes, with around six in 10 of those polled picking out these upgrades.

Around 11 per cent of key finance tasks are automated by companies, but 39 per cent of firms are actively looking to change the way they use technology when it comes to number-crunching, PwC added.