The Challenges of a CFO

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows CFOs to see the big picture and drill down into the details, better positioning them to address and combat these modern challenges:

  • Reporting on the past, managing the present, and ensuring a sound future
  • Navigating ever-changing local and global regulations
  • Driving growth through strategic innovations
  • Monitoring their business's financial health in real time

Recently Venkat Bhamidipati, CFO of the Worldwide Enterprise & Partner Group at Microsoft, was interviewed about his role at Microsoft, his perspective on technology, the changing role of the CFO, and the challenges of modern business finance. His responses to several of the questions got us thinking about how Venkat’s beliefs echo how we here at Sunrise approach doing business. (If you’d like, you can read the full interview here.) These are some of the key takeaways and our thoughts from the interview.


Become architects of business value. Venkat says that CFOs need to balance “short-term accountability while still driving a long-term focus on growth.” Venkat’s quote reminded us of this Forrester Research video about the evolving role of the CFO regarding ERP. One great way to both control costs in the short term while laying the foundation for future growth is with a scalable, cloud-based solution. With such a solution in place, you only pay for what you need every month, instead of making a huge upfront investment in costly infrastructure. And, as the company grows, so does your system. That’s a win, win, win!


The next evolution for corporate finance? It’s Power BI. As a CFO, Venkat knows a thing or two about gettings things done. He sees technology as an enabler for faster decision making while increasing productivity and efficiency. With cloud-based business applications like Dynamics 365, Power BI comes standard, and you can whip up all kinds of dashboards to tell you exactly what’s going on with your business at a glance.


Don’t overlook the humble ROI. Venkat thinks a solid Return on Investment analysis can pay huge dividends when it comes to defining an organization’s priorities. “ROI analysis and discussion, taking into account all costs - direct and indirect - is a powerful way to level-set on what our group or divisional goals and expectations are, and the investments we make,” says Venkat. For CFOs, managing costs is key and plays into Venkat’s earlier point about balancing long-term growth with short-term investments. A cloud-based ERP solution, combined with a partner with expertise in your industry, can help keep costs down.


Stay customer-centric as a philosophy for growth. “I have always believed that a customer-centric approach to growing the business is best, where investing in business areas that lead to the most return and value for our customers is prioritized,” says Venkat. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, our president and founder, John Pence, has said that his goal for Sunrise is to keep and support clients for as long as possible. By listening to our clients and taking inspiration from the feedback we’ve been given, our offerings have evolved over time to include things like our exclusive Supply Chain 365 solution and global support.


When it comes to business decision-making, use all the tools at your disposal. To paraphrase Venkat, making effective business decisions is an art and a science. CFOs instinctively make decisions based primarily on quantitative, empirical data. This means having as much accurate data (in real time) as possible is crucial, as is being able to trust the data to sometimes make a decision based on gut instinct. “At the end of the day, I believe one should effectively leverage all tools and experience at one’s disposal in order to arrive at a well-informed, optimal solution or business decision,” says Venkat. Problem is, how can you quickly act on information (let alone trust it) when it’s siloed in a bunch of different places? Lucky for us, Dynamics 365 brings ERP, CRM, and BI together under a common data service — putting pertinent, actionable, trustworthy information at your fingertips. Plus, by bringing all your data sources together, you’ll save time - and every CFO knows time is money.


While we recommend reading the whole interview, these were the points that especially stood out for us. As a Microsoft Gold ERP Partner and one of the first Cloud Solution Providers for ERP, we see challenges as opportunities for relentless improvement -- as do many of the CFOs we work with every day. By focusing on how we can help CFOs and other business leaders, we’ve been able to achieve over 130 successful go-lives in our key industries. If you’d like to see how Sunrise can help you, sign up for one of our live demos today.