by Mark Kissman, CFO, Greenlight Technologies

With access to information across the enterprise, finance can be the hero by bringing in-depth analysis and timely insights to give the organization a unique perspective on how to make sustained improvements.

Managing cash flow from operations is a critical function shared by virtually every department in the business: finance, manufacturing, sales, etc. However, when it comes time to explain the differences in the actual results and to prepare guidance, who is in the bullseye?… Finance.

The CEO, board of directors and investors all hold the CFO’s feet to the fire when it comes to cash forecasting, working capital metrics and management’s discussion and analysis. Forecast inaccuracies can have a huge impact on the planned use of cash – plant expansion, technology investments, dividends, stock buybacks and debt servicing to name a few.

Sharing the responsibility for key performance indicators with business executives is critical to helping the organization plan and make meaningful improvements in the predictability of cash forecasting and working capital management. But where do they start? What actions are going to have the biggest impact? What are the root causes of inconsistent or poor performance?

Finance executives are in a unique position to identify and quantify the drivers of working capital and profitability changes and hence their impact on cash from operations. At the same time, finance has a significant challenge in terms of how to acquire granular information in order to help the business with deeper analysis and decision making.

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