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/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/small272192_h_ergb_s_gl_140909.jpgLast week over 160 senior financial executives from major companies like Coinstar, Sybase, American Water, and Dow got together to talk shop at the CFO Dimensions™ conference in Chicago. SAP co-sponsored the event which is the brainchild of Proformative, an online network of 600,000 corporate finance and business professionals. Members get together regularly to share ideas and best practices for success, and this is their premier annual networking event.

Some of these companies are using innovations that leave weekly reports, cumbersome spreadsheets, and the like far behind. Amazing things happen when you can review budgets and spending across the company in real-time wherever you are at any time on your mobile device. That’s the idea behind SAP RealSpend, a mobile app for the iPad. It gives financial professionals instant access to their SAP ERP software applications. They can receive alerts on spending issues and act fast with colleagues to resolve them.  They can analyze and benchmark spending data by department, project, or expense type over any time period.

This kind of real-time information has never mattered more to CFOs. Thack Brown, COO and Interim CFO, SAP Latin America and Caribbean, delivered a keynote at the Dimensions event in which he talked about how the role of the CFO has dramatically changed. He told the audience that success or failure hinges on how CFOs navigate risk, regulation and compliance in an uncertain economy—all the while helping to grow the company. Brown’s overarching point was deceptively simple; Modern CFOs need to stay updated on the latest technologies that have the power to change their business.

That’s precisely the idea behind bringing software applications into the cloud. One example is SAP Enterprise Performance Management OnDemand (EPM). Recently launched at the ASUG BusinessObjects User Conference, this set of mobile-ready EPM applications is built natively on the SAP HANA Application Cloud, and available via subscription pricing. It comes with three apps to start that allow CFOs to solve expense problems, do profit and loss reporting, and capital project planning. This is just one example of innovative solutions that give CFOs the ability to analyze, iterate and adapt on the fly, whether sitting in the office or on the road. Being a CFO has never been more complicated. It’s good to know solutions like these exist that make doing business not only better, but a lot easier too.

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