Business-Centric Approach Increasingly Important for CFO Organizations Says ACCA-IMA Report

New York and Montvale, N.J. – Successful organizations encourage their business departments to partner with the finance organization to deliver data insights for better decision support, finds a study jointly undertaken by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) on the progress commercial finance functions are making in business partnering. 

The report, “Financial Insight: Challenges and Opportunities,” draws on global survey data; finance leadership roundtables in New York, London, Toronto, Vancouver, Singapore and Hong Kong; and interviews with more than 750 senior finance executives from some of the world’s leading organizations. 

“The concept of business partnering is not new. The finance function has always had a role in providing information vital for good decision making. Technology and other advancements are fuelling the potential for business partnering, challenging finance teams to keep pace and maintain internal influence,” said Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA’s vice president of research and policy. 

Jamie Lyon, head of Corporate Sector at ACCA, added: “We see business partnering as one of the critical ongoing challenges for the CFO organization to get right. With the wealth of data and information available to enterprises, there is a big opportunity for the finance function to drive future growth. But it’s an opportunity that has to be taken.”

Rapidly changing business environments and increasingly complex digital environments are listed among the main challenges CFOs and their finance functions face in delivering effective financial insight. However, finance organizations that adopt a business-centric approach and emphasize the importance of good finance-business partnering practices can not only meet those challenges but capitalize on them by extending their influence and leadership across the enterprise.  

According to the study, organizations need to focus on three key areas:
  • Creating a sustainable mandate for finance-business partnering practices to flourish
  • Fixing and reworking the quality of data insights provided to the enterprise
  • Deploying the right finance talent with the right mindset to deliver.
The report predicts the growing digitization of businesses and a highly competitive enterprise landscape will have a profound effect on the future of organizations because in a fast-moving, data-rich business environment, enterprise data insights will be increasingly important in creating advantage and corporate value. 

To read “Financial Insight: Challenges and Opportunities,” please visit

For additional ACCA and IMA reports, research and insights for finance leaders, please visit the ACCA/IMA joint website,

About ACCA
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants with 162,000 members and 428,000 students in 173 countries worldwide. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. We work through a network of 89 offices and centers and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. For more information, visit

About IMA®
IMA®, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 70,000 members in 120 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe, and Middle East/Africa. For more information about IMA, please

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