Kicking Some Football into Finance

Sports analysts are saying that the Seattle Seahawks turned in the best defensive performance in 48-year history of the Super Bowl.

What can finance and accounting executives learn from the Seahawks’ defensive strategy of being bigger, faster and more agile?

Conversely, how might the Denver Broncos’ offensive strategy of leadership with a well-prepared quarterback like Peyton Manning relate to how a company’s finances are managed?

Football coaches often say offense wins games and defense wins championships. In the finance world, that could perhaps correlate to strategies for short-term goals versus long-term success. When finance executives are working offensively, they’re planning and analyzing the best plays to run that will improve accuracy and score more efficiencies. When they’re working defensively, they’re looking for ways to guard the company from risk.

Strategic planning, forecasting and budgeting are cited as the top three priorities for CFOs and finance professionals this year, according to Protiviti. Filling the company playbook with business intelligence and mobilizing finance teams with the power of big data will be critical offensive tactics to keep these priorities in play.

The good news for the defense is that according to a recent study from Protiviti and North Carolina State University, the 2014 business environment may turn out to be less risky for companies than it was a year ago. Among the top 10 risks for 2014 are cyber-threats and privacy management, so finance executives still need to brace themselves for those ball-hawking safeties - a.k.a. hackers - hoping for an interception.

As in football, a balanced approach of sound offensive and defensive strategies is best for moving the company through complex financial initiatives right into the end zone, while also blocking long-term risk factors that might be trying to tackle performance.


Photo credit: Seattle Seahawk Stadium by Andrew Hitchcock via Wikimedia Commons