Annual NSS CEO Survey Results and Report 2012

Annual NSS CEO Survey Results and Report –2012

NSS conducted its Annual CEO Survey 3rd quarter last year and found some intriguing consistencies as well as one very strong dichotomy.  The purpose of the survey was to gain better understanding of the decisions-making process of CEOs in the greater Boston area and how they view the finance function.

Each of the questions represented a part of the business in the same order. All of the potential answers represent contributions from a finance team can and should make. Examples of how a finance team must contribute in the outlined aspects of a business:


Sales: CFOs forecast the most profitable products and channels

Operations: CFOs benchmark performance metrics and financial goals

Organization: CFOs close the gap between information flow and real-time decision-making

Finance: CFO negotiates capital transactions


Three of the four business aspects (sales, operations and organization) had consistent answers, with Sales and Organization somewhat more important than Operations.  The exception however was Finance which was viewed very differently and inconsistently from very low in expectations to a very high in terms in providing liquidity and access to capital markets.

The results also give us a better way to identify how to support CEOs with their aspirations, afflictions, challenges and desired improvements. The survey results are not surprising to NSS in that all aspects and questions represented in the survey are Finance Driven Functions.  What is of importance is that the dichotomy gets clearly defined when the expectations of the Finance Functions are set very low yet the challenges such as Access to Capital Markets and Product and Channel Cost/benefit Analyses are set remarkably high. This is an unnecessary compromise that can be very costly to a business.

NSS has observed this compromise where CEOs experience a similar pattern and frustration with the overall finance function and a mismatch of expertise and needs. Maybe the CFO is really a Controller type or the Controller does NOT provide CFO capabilities. CEOs need to be able to rely on their CFO as value creator and integrator for growth and profit.

The biggest organizational improvement aspired to in this survey was Communications.  They want to better understanding of how all levels can contribute to achieving the goals of the company. Again, a NSS CFO helps a CEO by attaching information flow to financial metrics and reporting and plays a major role in achieving this through communications with all departments.

Today’s CEO wants to incorporate and fully integrate the Finance Functions into all parts of a business as the silo mentality of departments gets eliminated and replaced with a more integrative approach and transparency to business.

Next generation finance functions need to be redefined to support CEOs for better and faster decision-making.  Agility is vital in growing and maintaining a business in volatile markets.  NSS and its high level CFOs use the driving analogy to best describe its finance and business focus. The GPS of Finance™ incorporates information integration, capital asset management and business performance measures and monitors as value creators.

In summary, from the survey we deduce that Sales continues to be a major concern along with Organizational well being. Operations sits somewhere in between with medium to high importance. We also conclude that Finance is not recognized as an important function in relations to value creation and is showcased as the only dichotomy of the four business characteristics. CEOs need to know that this is an important and realistic expectation from their CFOs.

Today’s CFO must be a business partner to the CEO, a value creator and integrator and directly affect the bottom and top line of a business.

NSS turns this problem into a solution for companies by closing the gap between needs and expectations and by pairing high level finance and business partners with CEOs at a better price point.

Contact us today to discuss further in how NSS works differently with its clients and how we may help you!! 617-449-7728 or

Original Survey Questions:






With the ability to wave a magic wand, what would be most important to your company in the near future?


Which is the biggest constraint in the present state of your company?

Market Opportunities are exploited with effective account management


Sales Force and support systems not in place to capture growth opportunities

Profits are maximized by focusing on value drivers


Cost reduction constraints to build out a scalable infrastructure

Performance is integrated from strategy to execution.


Working in the business does not allow time to work on the future of the business

The finance team is a recognized value creator for growth and profits.


Emphasis on accounting and compliance hinder business analysis and predictive capabilities



Value Creation

Which is the biggest challenge you face in moving forward?


Which improvement ranks the highest for you to achieve success moving from present to future state?

Identify and prioritize opportunities using product and channel cost/benefit analysis


Establish a culture for sales of managing team goals and forecasting future performance

Put processes in place, shorten time to market and streamline product delivery


Gain efficiencies by leveraging operating technology and advanced management techniques

Build an executive team that is balanced between vision and execution


Increase the understanding of how all levels can contribute to achieving the goals of the company

Obtain liquidity throug
h organic cash flow plus access to credit and capital markets


Expand financial strategic vision and risk assessment to achieve growth and profitability

Key:  SA = Sales | OP = Operations | OR = Organizational | FI = Finance


Figure 1

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