We’ve made the case for years: There’s a huge opportunity and need for CFOs to become more strategic to their organizations.

We all agree that financial data should heavily influence future decisions within any business eyeing long-term success. But the cumbersome effort required to gather and analyze historical performance data and project future outcomes has hindered many finance leaders’ ability to spend less time managing data and more time acting as a strategic partner to the organization.

Finance needs the right FP&A tools and processes to drive a fundamental shift in responsibilities. I’m talking about a complete transition from number cruncher to strategic decision-maker—from reporting on historical performance, to driving future decisions.

As a CFO earlier in my career, I tried to create more efficient FP&A processes so that our entire finance team could focus more time on understanding the story behind the data. My goal was to help our executives make more data-based decisions. What I found was a lack of available tools to help drive such a change.

Over a decade later, many CFOs and corporate finance teams are in a similar position, despite the current availability of modern FP&A tools to help them make best use of their time and add more value to their organizations. Persistent use of legacy tools like Excel greatly hinders finances’ ability to assume a more forward-thinking, strategic role. Excel is a great personal productivity tool, but it’s a miserable collaborative, structured business application. As such, it introduces significant overhead that takes time away from the initiatives that are most impactful to building a business.

To truly lead with financial insight, it’s up to CFOs to embrace and drive new technology adoptiontechnology that will help to create a repeatable process of getting the right data, to the right people, at the right time.

I’s about improving efficiency and freeing-up more time for finance to do what everyone really wants them to do – focus on analyzing and sharing financial and operational metrics with executive decision-makers. That increased focus on financial analysis often leads to very tangible results for many organizations.

In Adaptive Insights’ own recent CFO Indicator survey, 70% of respondents said they plan to make better use financial data to make more analytics-based decisions. The right tools are essential to doing so, which is why modern technology will continue to be a significant differentiator for today’s most strategic finance chiefs and most successful businesses.

This content was originally posted here.