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Media Chiefs Ask CFOs Where to Wield the Axe

Thirty percent demand "more insight, analysis and planning from their finance chiefs," according to an E&Y survey.
David KatzFebruary 17, 2009

Chief executive officers in the media and entertainment industry are looking to their chief financial officers to show them how to cut costs, according to a survey released today by Ernst & Young.

Of 27 M&E corporate chieftains responding to the survey, 30 percent said they are demanding “more insight, analysis and planning from their finance chiefs.” Twenty percent each want “a more efficient finance function” and “open, accurate accounting.” 

Chief executives “today tell us that they’re relying more and more on their CFOs and finance executives to help them make the hard decisions. They need the right information to make strategic decisions and they’re looking for the best input they can get to determine where to make the necessary cuts,” said John Nendick, the global media and entertainment leader at the accounting firm.

At entertainment and media companies, top executives are increasingly turning toward CFOs to handle “liquidity, debt management, asset valuation, counter-party exposure, tax planning and more frequently, the supply chain, to help improve processes and due diligence,” the firm contends.

One unidentified chief executive reportedly told E&Y: “The key to me as CEO is that the finance organization puts the models in place to enable me and the operational leaders to understand our business today and tomorrow.”  Said another: “A good CFO will partner with the CEO in a very different role because of the changes in the media landscape.”  

CEOs and top executives in the business also reportedly told E&Y that there was an increased focus on leveraging shared services. The total cost of finance and support services is being re-gauged and regulatory compliance is being rejiggered to curb risk and drive cost savings.