NUI Galway Facilitates New Approach to Finance Management

Tuesday, 4 June 2002

Release date: 4 June, 2002

NUI Galway Facilitates New Approach to Finance Management

A groundbreaking series of round table meetings, organised by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and facilitated by Martin Fahy, a Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Information Systems at NUI Galway, is examining the effectiveness of Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) processes amongst leading companies. Two Irish companies are taking part in the round table discussions, which examine ways in which the finance functions of organisations can leverage off investment in Enterprise Resource Planning.

"Effectiveness in terms of strategic enterprise management is a key competitive advantage for any company," said Dr Martin Fahy. "I believe however that we, as finance professionals are not living up to management's expectations. Technologies such as ERP, data warehousing, budget and planning software are all designed to improve efficiencies to businesses but the full potential is not being realised. This is not necessarily a technology issue - it means a re-think of the way in which organisations approach strategic management."

The round table meetings form part of a two-year research project with eight companies in total taking part. The companies themselves, blue-chip companies chosen for their innovative approach to management issues, are funding the project.

"These meetings are an opportunity for companies to fundamentally re-think how they conduct their business." continued Dr. Fahy. "Many finance professionals feel that they don't have the time to look in detail at their processes. With these meetings they are off-site and have an opportunity to discuss issues of concern with other like-minded organisations. Industry is looking for what has been described as 'thought-leadership' from Universities and we can offer ideas and principles on which organisations can base their strategies for management.

Inefficiencies in the finance function are creating work and Finance Directors must be able to take a step back from current IT systems and assess their effectiveness. We need to examine how the current technology can be exploited in order to achieve the reporting and analysis objectives set out by management. What we don't want is a situation where SEM is seen as a quick fix solution for a firm's financial reporting inadequacies. The Round Table is essentially a think-tank designed to help firms and others develop best practice approaches to developing their SEM capability. As such the purpose of the Round Table is to bring together a range of finance professionals in firms from different industries to share experiences and identify solutions."

The Round Table will also have consultants and academics who will be providing thought leadership on emerging trends and approaches and helping the firms develop a pathway to better SEM capability. "The Round Table will meet every 8 to 10 weeks and over, a twelve-month period, we ll develop a range of best practice approaches", says Dr. Fahy.

The companies taking part include Powergen, BBC and Unilever. Project web site is: www.cimasem.com

ENDS

For further information:Maire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. 091-750418

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