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Finance leaders are bucking the current trend for negativity on the economic outlook with over 60% of attendees at PwC's Finance Leaders' Summit expecting positive growth in their industry over the next 12 to 18 months.
However, despite confidence in their own prospects, three quarters said that they are making plans to mitigate the risks presented by the euro crisis.
Growth in new markets continues, an increasing importance is placed on understanding local requirements and demand with 90% of attendees saying they were increasingly moving away from a pure export model to developing products and services that are designed to meet local market needs.
Nick Atkin, partner in PwC Consulting's finance effectiveness practice, said: ‘It is no longer enough to export your home-grown products and services. Understanding the opportunities and risks in the local target market and innovating to develop tailor-made products and services is pivotal to success in the emerging markets.’
When looking at business in the emerging markets, 60% of finance leaders said finding and retaining talent was the key consideration for their function, followed by compliance and regulatory control risk.
Atkin added: ‘Finance leaders are increasingly focusing on talent management, on attracting and retaining the right talent and on developing the skills of their teams. As organisations grow and expand internationally this is a top priority for business leaders.’
The drive for finance to become a partner of the business and driver of strategy as opposed to a department of report churners continues. Over half of respondents said that finance should have the responsibility for driving the right data, information and analytics across the business.
Yet a quarter of the respondents stated that the management information produced by finance failed to meet the needs of the business, with a further 37% only neutral about its impact.
Nick Groves, PwC partner and global leader of the enterprise performance management team, said: ‘Far too much time is still spent on manipulating data rather than on analysing information to deliver insightful solutions. Whilst finance leaders clearly recognise the importance of their role in driving the right data, significant opportunity remains in aligning management information to the needs of the business.’
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