Microsoft Dynamics CRM - Solution Brief For A Finance Executive Overview
The New Office of Finance
Creating Value and Driving Performance
Revised December 2008
Finance Performance Overview
In today’s uncertain business climate and volatile market conditions, CFOs’ responsibilities extend beyond
managing the internal workings of their companies’ finances—they must create business value, drive perfor-
mance, and plan for new business opportunities. CEOs at top-performing organizations see their finance
departments less as the “hands on the purse strings” and more as the evaluators of strategic initiatives.
That’s why it has never been more important to ensure that your people are making informed decisions and
helping the finance department fulfill its duty as a strategic leader of the business.
At Microsoft, we understand that people are the driving force behind your company’s performance, and
the more you empower your teams to make the right decisions, the better results you will achieve. Toward
these aims, we have provided dynamic performance and financial management tools that enable your
people to access consistent, relevant data, analyze data for insight and action, and share information in
Finance Performance Overview ........................................................................ 2
The Story of Sara, Chief Financial Officer ..................................................... 4
Microsoft Tools for Finance Professionals .................................................... 7
Improve Financial Operations ........................................................................... 8
Drive Corporate Performance .........................................................................10
Are you ready to…? ..............................................................................................14
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Revised December of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance Revised December 2008
a secure, user-friendly environment. The good news is that you can reap these benefits and maximize
IT spend by leveraging many of your existing technology investments. We believe this functionality is the
foundation of a competitive business—giving your finance department the tools to drive company growth
and fortify your employees as high-impact, strategic contributors to your business success.
Revised December 2008 The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Revised Performance » 3
Driving December 2008
The Story of Sara, Chief Financial Officer
In today’s unstable economic environment, successful
CFOs wear many hats—ranging from developer of
financial plans, director of all financial and operational
controls, and presenter of reliable financial information
to the investment community. So it is with Sara, CFO of
a 250-employee manufacturing company. Today her
multifaceted role in the organization puts her in the
center of many strategic discussions around reducing
risks, increasing employee productivity, and cutting costs.
“I want to spend more of my time
on strategic activities.”
4 « The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance Revised December 2008
Understand the challenges Sara faces
With the expanding influence of the CFO role in her organization, Sara finds that her task list expands accordingly. Between
meetings with upper management to establish financial milestones, calls to various parties to secure cash resources for product
development, and monitoring her organization’s financial processes for regulatory risks, she does not have time to correct data
inaccuracies based on human error or stand over people to make sure financial audits are completed successfully. If the business
expands into new markets or geographies, Sara’s challenge is to make sense of the tidal wave of information coming from many
disconnected systems in order to assemble budgets or scenario plans. That’s why it is critical that Sara has tools and systems in
place that improve the efficiency, accuracy, and agility of her company’s financial operations, giving her more time to interact
strategically with the business.
Learn how Sara addresses her challenges
Observe how Sara puts tools and processes in place to maximize her productivity and drive the business forward.
8:00 A.M. Sara checks e-mail messages and reviews scorecards to compare actual financials to forecasted financials. She creates a forecast and
model of a potential business acquisition.
10:00 A.M. Sara meets with the Controller to review finances. They review data accessible from a shared Web portal.
11:00 A.M. Sara prepares for leadership and analyst meetings. She analyzes market opportunity and company financial data to validate
1:00 P.M. Sara attends a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer and various company executives. Sara runs various financial “what-if” scenarios
by the CEO and details how the company might react to changing market variables.
4:00 P.M. Sara conducts investor relations calls to discuss the company’s financial performance. Based on a report from the Controller, Sara
determines what adjustments need to be made to achieve the goals in the forecasted plan.
Revised December 2008 The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance » 5
What are the team’s priorities?
Planning and Budgeting
Financial Analyst Compliance Officer Controller Executive
Brad Stacy Ken Patricia
“I want to reduce the amount of “I need to identify and quantify “I need to ensure that our core “I want a budget process that
time I spend creating reports.” our business risk and reduce financial systems are running can respond to changing
the complexity of compliance.” smoothly and efficiently.” market conditions.”
• How can I spend less time • How can I improve the • How can I get a single • How can I spend less time
compiling and more time adoption of governance version of the truth across and resources on annual
analyzing information? policies? multiple data sources? budgeting?
• How can I apply “what-if” • How can I make compli- • How can I more quickly • How can I make my
techniques to my ance easier? identify metrics that deviate forecasts more responsive
company’s numbers • How can I make regulatory from our benchmarks? to changing market
quickly? compliance less expensive? • How can I better adapt conditions?
• How can I share informa- • How can I protect our when business conditions • How can I get a “single
tion more effectively with proprietary information? change? version of the truth” across
my peers? all of our divisions?
The same challenges Sara faces have implications for other roles in the department. Her analysts are often spread thin
trying to retrieve, consolidate, and analyze information. Even worse, much of the information they need to collect is lost
in a maze of business systems, hard drives, and assorted formats, and a large percentage of their time is spent contacting
others across the organization to contribute information specific to their department. In the end, the analysts must take the
patchwork of data collected from various sources and manually put it into self-designed spreadsheets—a process that is
both time-consuming and error prone.
Of course, this has negative ramifications for the executives who need these analyses to inform their planning and
budgeting decisions. What if another author has overwritten some formula or inserted faulty links to other spreadsheets?
Are there any safeguards against version control issues or—considering compliance regulations—is there a way to
document who modified each file, what changes were made, and when they were made? No wonder most managers
spend more time trying to figure out what is the “right” information than actually making decisions.
However, today’s uncertain times demand urgent decisions and changes in business strategy to stay ahead of challenges
and seize opportunities as they emerge. What your department needs is the ability to transform a deluge of data into infor-
mation that is reliable, actionable, and easily shared. See how Microsoft end-to-end solutions can streamline your financial
process to support improvements in bottom-line performance while minimizing the risks of rapid-fire decision making.
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Microsoft Tools for Finance Professionals
Microsoft provides the tools to create an end-to-end platform for your business, one that can automate routine business proce-
dures, provide a unified view of financial and operational data, and adapt to changing conditions. An integrated Microsoft finance
solution enables executives to more easily access unified financial and operational information in the format that is relevant
to their role and level—all in an auditable and compliant environment. Furthermore, Microsoft provides all of the functionality
needed for performance management in a single, integrated application, including scorecards, dashboards, management
reporting, analytics, planning, budgeting, forecasting, and consolidation. By aligning budgeting and performance management
functions, decision makers can reduce the budget cycle time significantly, improve budget accuracy with access to real-time
analytics, gain more relevant business insights, and drive business strategy.
In the realm of Midmarket business practices, the promise that a streamlined and integrated financial system offers is substantial.
Not only does it enable real-time interaction with your business-critical data—without the help of IT—it also allows you to explain
to management not only what is happening in the business but also why it is happening and what management can expect in
the future. Imagine how quickly you can realize your goals by leveraging technology that is already familiar to you and your
employees, such as Microsoft® Office and Excel®. Powerful technologies that integrate with existing systems and processes so
your people can deliver more strategic value to the company—that is the value Microsoft solutions bring to the table.
Take a closer look at how the Microsoft blueprint for trustworthy, role-based, and actionable business data can help you sustain
your market position and grow your business—despite the economic challenges you face.
Revised December 2008 Revised December 2008
Improve Financial Operations
Others rely on the CFO to develop the financial plan and goals for the company, and monitor performance against them.
However, without a good Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system it can take days to get actionable information to people,
such as the impact that a supplier delay may have on cash flow. Information changes quickly, and you lose revenue momentum
if your department’s analytical processes are too slow, or if you’re stuck “putting out fires.”
Challenge—How can I drive business process productivity?
• Easily tailor already familiar software to specific roles in the organization.
• Quickly respond to changing business conditions.
• Save time and costs by automating routine tasks.
• Gain a “single version of the truth” with a unified view of financial data across multiple sources.
Today’s ERP systems are the core platforms for real-time visibility of financial information. ERP remains the main business process
platform for the “single version of the truth,” and for putting business performance in financial terms. Most importantly for your
business, the right ERP solution is built on familiar, easy-to-use technology—because what good is a system that your workers
don’t know how to use?
Microsoft Dynamics™ provides users with a role-tailored experience that can adjust to the ad hoc, unpredictable work that is
part of daily business. Unlike other ERP systems, a Microsoft ERP solution enables users to get up to speed quickly using familiar
Microsoft Office tools, such as Outlook® and Excel. And with built-in collaboration and unified communication tools, users can
pass information between colleagues, customers, and partners with greater ease than ever before.
Improve productivity with role-tailored software that is familiar and desirable. Add value to old systems and reduce
training costs by adding functionality to already-familiar environments, as Microsoft business applications are designed to work
with your existing technologies and processes. Microsoft Dynamics also makes it simple to summarize information from different
perspectives with pre-built standardized templates and reporting scorecards.
Enable agility with ongoing flexibility to manage market changes. Build and modify ad hoc work streams to take advantage
of new opportunities and adapt quickly to changing industry demands. All the while, provide self-service access through dash-
boards, scorecards, and personalized portals to business users, resulting in less reliance on IT.
Save time and costs on repetitive tasks by streamlining and aligning financial processes. Win back your day by executing
operations from a single corporate database to reduce time-intensive, administrative tasks. You can also achieve faster close times
through more streamlined and automated spreadsheet management.
Increase the reliability of your financial data with a unified view across multiple sources and “one version of the truth.”
Consolidate results across departments, divisions, and the entire organization in a single, integrated system. Unify standards and
help ensure quality by centralizing processes across multiple sites and divisions, and work smoothly with business data without
leaving your Office applications.
For more information, go to www.microsoft.com/business/finance.
8 « The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance Revised December 2008
Take a look at how companies like yours have deployed adaptable solutions to improve productivity and enable business growth.
Managing Director gets a handle on business processes and opens the door to efficiency
Leading U.K. ironmongery company, Allgood, suffered from incompatible inventory, customer management, and quotation systems.
The lack of communication between the disparate systems caused gaps in information, manual data entry, reactive decision making,
and limited collaboration and insight. Allgood chose Microsoft Dynamics™ AX, a flexible business management solution suitable for
midsize companies. Now, Allgood realizes improved data quality and the efficiency of its business processes, liberating people from
unproductive labor and reducing inventory costs by 25%. Purchasing now spends less time sorting out problems and more time
securing better discounts, and contract management teams can spend less time on data entry and more time liaising with clients.
“I want to improve our business processes so Allgood can accommodate
growth without spending money on extra resources. With Microsoft Dynamics,
we have the tool to do it.”
— Peter Hill, Managing Director, Allgood
Large-scale acquisition completed in six weeks with hosted accounting solution
North American fiberboard manufacturer, Flakeboard, faced rapid company growth after an acquisition of several mills. The
acquisition quadrupled the size of the company, forcing it to quickly find a financial management solution that could be
implemented in only six weeks as a means to close the books. Flakeboard chose Microsoft Dynamics AX business software and,
with the implementation expertise of Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Strategic Solutions NW, the solution was implemented
and running in only 40 days. Employees quickly became productive using the software, with new hires getting up-to-speed and
punching in invoices within an hour. And, while it used to take 12 audit managers and an audit partner six weeks and US$550,000
to complete the final audit for the acquired mills, by using Microsoft Dynamics, Flakeboard had one audit manager and two
auditors perform their first audit in a three-week period for less than US$100,000.
“Microsoft Dynamics is an intuitive and flexible system. There have been
no bumps in the road—we were processing invoices on the first day and
cutting our first check as soon as it was due. Our first month-end closing
was completed in nine days. Since then, we’ve cut closing down to five days.”
— Chris Bennett, Corporate Controller, Flakeboard
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Drive Corporate Performance
According to Gartner, “CFOs are under pressure to identify the factors that positively affect corporate performance. Most organi-
zations rely on a patchwork of spreadsheets, legacy solutions and manual processes to do this. This approach is not adequate in
the current economic climate.”1 Today’s challenging economy simply cannot accommodate such time-consuming and error-prone
practices. If a company’s user-based tools are not powerful enough to perform complex tasks without the intervention of IT, it
becomes impossible to identify the key drivers of the company’s financial performance.
Challenge—How can I gain more insight from my data?
• Improve the efficiency and accountability of budgeting, planning, and other financial processes.
• Build and share iterative budget versions and new-scenario forecasts.
• Deliver real-time reports in a visual, easily actionable format to all employees.
• Track business performance through scorecards and key performance indicators (KPIs).
Timely, reliable analysis means that decision makers are able to capitalize on opportunities and address issues before they
become problems. Best practice analytical tools drive accurate reports and metrics, are highly scalable, and are flexible enough
to adapt to different use cases and the needs of the organization.
Microsoft solutions empower users with the ability to make informed decisions from within a familiar and collaborative environ-
ment. With real-time scorecards and dashboards to facilitate easier analysis and forecasting, CFOs are presented with the oppor-
tunity to align the organization around key strategic goals, including the ability to move the company away from static annual
budgeting to a more flexible rolling forecast model.
Improve the efficiency and accountability of budgeting, planning, and other financial processes. Improve the way your
people work together, using Excel Services that allow broad sharing of spreadsheets and improve the manageability, security, and
re-use of spreadsheet models. Also, support the creation of budgets with the appropriate process management capabilities to
control creation, submission, review, and approval.
Build and share iterative budget versions and new scenario forecasts. Use predictive analysis, real-time monitoring, and
dashboards to track and analyze budgets and identify process areas that can be improved. Use integrated business management
solutions to feed current data into the budgeting process, leading to more accurate assumptions about market conditions.
Deliver real-time reports in a visual, easily actionable format to all employees. Securely distribute reports via company intranet
and team workspaces, where data can be easily exported into spreadsheets for further analysis. Create reports that draw content
from multiple data sources; publish reports in various formats; and centrally manage security, subscriptions, and analysis services.
Align the budgeting process to business performance through KPIs. Help people track personal, departmental, or divisional
performance against objectives with targeted scorecards, data visualization, and advanced analytic capabilities. Assemble score-
cards, reports, and charts that are connected through advanced KPIs with powerful and easy-to-use tools.
For more information, go to www.microsoft.com/business/finance.
Gartner, Corporate Performance Management Trends That Will Affect CFOs, Neil Chandler, 29 April 2008
10 « The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance Revised December 2008
Take a look at how companies like yours have deployed consolidated solutions to drive corporate performance.
New information management solution awakens business insight
Rapid growth at sleep system retailer, Wenatex, strained incompatible business systems, rendering Finance Manager and Lead of
Operations Harald Wohlfart unable to get consolidated profit and loss data or perform a monthly budget without heavy manual
processes. By deploying a Microsoft data warehouse that consolidates information from finance, sales, and telemarketing systems,
Wohlfart has gained total control over the information that he needs to access, analyze, and share with management to realize
business goals. With finance, sales, and telemarketing information in one place, Wohlfart can deploy financial scenarios across
his sales models to see how effective they are and can easily compare costs across branch offices, generate revenue figures, and
perform company-wide financial reporting and budgets every month.
“The integrated performance management approach from Microsoft delivers
the best value. Now we have easy-to-use, flexible technology so everyone
can harness business information and make it work for Wenatex.”
— Harald Wohlfart, Finance Manager and Lead of Operations, Wenatex
Nonprofit agency centralizes accounting, frees resources for peacemaking
A nonprofit organization spanning the globe, Search for Common Ground, struggled with inconsistent business practices that
hindered collaboration between its Washington, D.C. and Brussels offices. The organization used different accounting systems
and countless spreadsheets to manage multi-currency cash flow from 50 cash accounts to 18 field offices. As a result, the
organization faced frequent audits and spent too much time preparing reports for auditors. The company decided to streamline
its accounting system with Microsoft ERP tools and make the solution accessible worldwide via a secure business portal. With
centralized accounting records, the organization has significantly reduced the time it takes to close the books from four months
to just one month. In addition, the sharing of accurate financial data from field offices has kept account information up-to-date
and reduced the chance of grant overspending.
“By creating peace of mind within our organization for donors, government
organizations, employees, and partners, Microsoft technology enables us to
continue the mission of world peace.”
— Jack Deeds, Chief Financial Officer, Search for Common Ground
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Increased board and shareholder scrutiny in the wake of the many recent accounting scandals can make life difficult for a CFO.
Meeting multiple governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) challenges has led many organizations to adopt
disjointed collections of applications and processes, many of which are expensive to maintain and hard to use. Furthermore,
GRC processes are often poorly adopted, exposing you and your company to greater risk.
Challenge—How can I make compliance less complicated?
• Improve adoption of GRC policies by embedding controls into everyday business tools.
• Perform faster, more effective monitoring and risk analysis.
• Streamline GRC with one, unified platform.
• Better manage security and systems for compliance.
The key to simplifying and driving down the high price tag of compliance is the ability to add functionality to preexisting software
and processes, without having users go out of their way to ensure their actions are documented.
Microsoft technologies enable you to embed automated compliance controls directly into the familiar desktop tools your people
use every day, decreasing the risk of poor adoption of governance policies. Furthermore, the Microsoft worldwide network of
partners can tailor tools to your organization’s needs while addressing a wide range of GRC mandates, including Sarbanes-Oxley,
Basel II, MiFID, and HIPAA.
Improve adoption of GRC policies by embedding controls into everyday business tools. Build Word and Excel templates
with pre-defined workflow policies and access privileges, enabling files to be automatically routed for approval before being
moved to a records repository. Automated processes are much easier to audit and track, and built-in workflows mean that there
is always a record of who touched the data and what changes were made.
Perform faster, more effective monitoring and risk analysis. Construct dashboards with consolidated views of non-compliance
alerts. And provide tools to help IT configure systems for specific regulations such as SOX, EUPD, GLBA, and HIPAA.
Streamline governance, risk management, and compliance with one, unified platform. Search, consolidate, and analyze
data from multiple sources for better control of financial reporting and risk. Integrate with Microsoft Dynamics or third-party ERP
and document management products, such as SAP, Documentum, and FileNet, for greater control and analysis of GRC across the
Better manage security and systems for compliance. Enable IT staff to easily monitor and address security issues with unified
dashboards across multiple systems and devices, as well as provide tools to help IT configure systems for specific regulations,
such as SOX, EUPD, GLBA, and HIPAA.
For more information, go to www.microsoft.com/business/finance.
12 « The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance Revised December 2008
Take a look at a couple of midsize companies that have deployed dependable solutions for consistent and cost-effective compliance.
Bank improves risk analysis and efficiency with an intelligent single view of customer
Sasfin Bank needed to minimize manual intervention in risk analysis and compliance reporting to meet Basel II requirements.
Sasfin deployed an enterprise content management and business intelligence solution, including implementation of Microsoft
Dynamics CRM, to help them analyze large volumes of rapidly changing data. The new solution enables Sasfin to easily
discern trends from complex data. And with the new business intelligence solution, many manual functions—such as the entry
of customer information into front-end systems and the aggregation of customer data—are eliminated. Additionally, group
exposures can be viewed at a glance to determine risk as it pertains to selected products or industries, allowing Sasfin to reduce
the number of errors in the credit data system. Sasfin also expects that by spending less time on manual aggregation and
intervention, they will realize a total savings of 10 business days per month when they compile regulatory reports.
“The Basel II accord is the biggest event to happen in the banking arena
in 10 years. The Microsoft business intelligence solution will help us to be
proactively compliant to future regulations…”
— Lizande Vermeulen, Manager of Basel II Implementation, Sasfin Bank
Messaging and reporting systems help hospital ease compliance, improve safety
Eagleville Hospital wanted to improve the system reliability of its messaging environment, decrease support time, and streamline
its reporting processes for hazardous events. Eagleville Hospital upgraded to Microsoft® Exchange Server 2007 and implemented
a new forms-based records management system that takes advantage of the 2007 Microsoft Office system. New features
of Exchange Server 2007 saved the hospital as many as 30 hours of planning and deployment time, and it helped them to
enforce e-mail retention policies and abide by HIPAA regulations. Furthermore, Microsoft tools improved the hospital’s ability to
safeguard patient information and enable faster, more thorough event reporting.
“Exchange Server 2007 enhancements, such as unified messaging and
policy and compliance features made [this product] an immediate need
for the hospital.”
— Richard Mitchell, Director of IT, Eagleville Hospital
Revised December 2008 The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance » 13
Are you ready to…?
Microsoft solutions are delivered alongside the strongest
technology partner base in the world. Contact a partner to learn
how you can tailor your financial tools to specific roles across
the organization, save costs on repetitive financial tasks, and
gain a 360-degree view of your company’s financial data.
14 « TheDecember 2008
Revised New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance Revised December 2008
If you are ready to gain more insight from your data, the wide
Microsoft network of partners can help you find a solution that
delivers real-time financial data in actionable formats to your
employees; improves the accuracy, accountability, and cycle
times of your budgeting processes; and enables you to align
budgets and investments to business performance through KPIs.
Contact a partner to learn how you can improve adoption of
GRC policies, perform more effective auditing of documents,
e-mail, and instant messages, and address multiple regulations
with one, unified platform. Microsoft solutions enable you to
handle exceptions, adapt to ongoing regulatory changes, and
easily integrate with new technology.
Revised December 2008 The New Office of Finance—Creating Value and Driving Performance2008
Revised December » 15
Microsoft will help your company get more value from its existing technology investments, improve access to financial perfor-
mance data, drive greater efficiency within and beyond the financial department, and reduce the complexity of governance with
finance and performance management solutions built using Excel and other programs that your workers use on a daily basis.
Leverage familiar Microsoft tools to:
• Make your current ERP and other line-of-business systems easier to use with a familiar Office-based front end, and leverage
existing investments in Office and other Microsoft technologies to address common business needs.
• Get new employees up and running quickly with minimal training. In other words, have your systems work the way your
people do rather than the other way around.
• Reduce the complexity of governance, risk management, and compliance and increase adoption of governance policies by
embedding controls into the software that your department uses most often.
Microsoft can help you innovate and adapt to changing conditions without wholesale changes to applications and infrastructure.
And, of course, Microsoft technology is designed to help protect your business applications against attacks that can expose,
delete, or disable access to your company data.
When Microsoft connects your people with the right tools, they become high-impact, strategic contributors to your business
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Ready to get started? You can download articles, take a finance assessment, find out about events in your area, and learn more
about how Microsoft can help you at www.microsoft.com/business/finance. If you have questions or are ready to take the next
steps, please contact your Microsoft representative.
1. Visit the Microsoft Finance Solutions Web site at www.microsoft.com/business/finance.
2. Learn how other finance leaders have benefited from our solutions at www.microsoft.com/resources/casestudies.
3. Request a white paper from your partner or Microsoft representative to better understand Microsoft solutions for finance.
As a leader in business-enhancing solutions, Microsoft is the only software vendor that provides midsize organizations with
solutions that are:
• Transformative. Microsoft has a heritage of delivering business technologies that transform the fabric of business and confer
strategic advantage to organizations that use them.
• Innovative and Ready for the Real World. Software that is familiar and easy to use by all of your employees, with inherent
assurance that governance and regulatory compliance are easily managed.
• Widely Supported. Business technology delivered with a broad choice of partners, with wide ownership and deployment
options, and integration with the broadest range of hardware and software technologies.
• Accessible to Everyone. Microsoft has a long history of lowering technology barriers by delivering the lowest cost of
ownership for business technology that can be used across all parts of an organization.
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