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Finance departments falling down on the job

There is some harsh news for finance departments... According to a new study by Accenture, senior executives believe their finance departments should be playing a key role in helping them make business decisions - but aren't.

The survey found that 69 percent of senior executives think the most important role that finance performs is to "enable senior management to make the best business decisions" but only 37 percent say their finance departments do a good job of this. Fifty four percent rank their departments as average in this respect.

The respondents also feel that the CFO should take the lead in enterprise risk management - but only 19 percent say their finance department does a good job of managing risk while 21 percent say their department does a poor job.

The results also show that what is expected of a finance executive is changing. More traditional finance responsibilities such as concern for financial transparency, accounting errors and fraud, are now taking a back seat to "strategic financial thinking" which was ranked as the most important attribute for a finance chief, with "a service oriented culture", " a strong capacity for strategic analysis" and "a clear link to overall company strategy" following close behind.

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