08/20/2015 05:03 EDT | Updated 08/20/2016 05:59 EDT

Weathering The Oil and Gas Storm by Enhancing the CFO: Part 3

*This is the third in a three-part series on the new imperative for oil and gas producers.*

You can find Part 1, the Four Faces here and Part 2, the Facts here.

The way the industry thinks about the areas of capital planning, budgeting and forecasting has to change, as priorities shift from identifying and finding opportunities to getting the most out of a portfolio of assets that often far exceed the available capital. In other words, there is a renewed imperative toward efficiency, which must be met with a comprehensive action plan if it is to be satisfied. Such a plan should include the following measures:

  • A single version of the truth for actual, budget and forecast
  • Codified and automated business logic to combine data from each source
  • Analytics modules and business processes to support budgeting and forecasting deliverables, including scenario modeling and reporting
  • A Finance Analytics roadmap to prioritize business needs
  • An automated financial reporting package -- Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash-Flow -- for both management and external reporting.

Implementing these measures can have a significant impact on Finance's performance and relationship with the rest of the organization. Integrated technology-driven solutions that can reduce the length of the budgeting and re-forecasting cycles while increasing the speed and robustness of scenario-modeling work to free up more resources to work on finance improvement initiatives. They also generally improve confidence in process controls and automation while reducing the reliance on IT.

There's broad agreement that times like these highlight the importance of Finance being a strategic advisor to the business, demonstrating the need to develop analytical thinking and business partnering skillsets as high priorities. In order to deliver on rising expectations and aspirations, CFOs and their teams will need to rethink and retool their Finance organizations to think differently about the people, process, data, and technology capabilities they have in place -- not only to deliver on the foundation but also to position the company for future success.

This moment for oil producers is a pivotal one, and taking advantage of Finance's expertise will go a long way in deciding its outcome.