Magical Glasses for the CFO

I am sure it is the aspiration of every CFO to simply wear a pair of magical glasses that will provide a bird’s eye view of the financial health of their company. The needs of each business are different, and it indeed will be a tall order to build the perfect pair of magical glasses. However, it is also not so difficult to abstract the problem and arrive at a reasonably common set of indicators that CFOs need to track irrespective of their business. The process of mining the information and deriving meaningful intelligence from it should not in itself become nightmarish. Similarly, it should be relatively easy to choose the mode of delivering that information – be it a dashboard or a distributable MIS report. With a pair of these magical glasses, strategic decision making process can be easily accelerated.

Here is my wish-list for my pair of glasses:

  • The ability to compare information across various dimensions – periods, entities, divisions, cost-centers, geographies etc.
  • Collection of widgets – each of which will communicate an important piece of information, like margins, ratios, sales, ageing etc.
  • Graphical charts that can drill-down to the lowest level of information
  • Completely customizable MIS reports, so that I get what I want, and not what the software thinks I should get

As a CFO what would you like to see in your pair?