Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

About the Analyst

Robert Kugel

Rob heads up the CFO and business research focusing on the intersection of information technology with the finance organization and business. The financial performance management (FPM) research agenda includes the application of IT to financial process optimization and collaborative systems; control systems and analytics; and advanced budgeting and planning. Prior to joining Ventana Research he was an equity research analyst at several firms including First Albany Corporation, Morgan Stanley, and Drexel Burnham, and a consultant with McKinsey and Company. Rob was an Institutional Investor All-American Team member and on the Wall Street Journal All-Star list. Rob has experience in aerospace and defense, banking, manufacturing and retail and consumer services. Rob earned his BA in Economics/Finance at Hampshire College, an MBA in Finance/Accounting at Columbia University, and is a CFA charter holder.


Recent Posts

Accelerate Closing with a Faster Tax Provision Process

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 7, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Managing corporate income taxes is a challenge for chief financial officers and their tax department professionals. Tax codes are often complex, so tax accounting as well as the data required for tax provisions and tax compliance are different enough from statutory accounting to create significant workloads for the tax department. The provision for income tax expense and, for public companies, the assembly of information related to tax-related disclosures, can be a factor holding up the completion of the accounting close.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, digital finance

Vena Provides Practical Support for Integrated Business Planning

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 30, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Vena Solutions offers midsize organizations a platform for financial planning, analysis and reporting as well as software to manage accounting consolidation and close processes. From the start, Vena has designed its applications to meet the needs of midsize organizations, which typically have the same requirements as large enterprises but with significantly fewer resources to acquire, manage and maintain technology. Ventana Research named Vena a Value Index Leader in Adaptability and a Vendor of Merit in its 2022 Value Index on Business Planning.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Business Planning, Financial Performance Management, digital finance

Oracle NetSuite Goes Full Suite Ahead to Deliver Customer Value

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 25, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The theme of this year’s Oracle NetSuite SuiteWorld was “Full Suite Ahead,” with content aimed at demonstrating to customers (and prospective buyers) the value of using more of what NetSuite has to offer. The business logic behind this concept goes beyond the obvious objective of upselling existing customers to increase the average annual recurring revenue. As is often the case with subscription businesses, customers fail to take advantage of what’s already included in their service. Ensuring that customers are achieving full value is essential to retaining them, and almost always a precondition to selling them more. For a cloud software vendor, this translates to having an effective customer success organization backed by a customer-centric product strategy and a product management organization that delivers on the strategy. All of this was on display at the event.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, digital finance

Technology Puts the ‘A’ Back in FP&A

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The starting point of an era is never precise and rarely conforms to neat calendar delineations. For example, the start of the 20th century is associated with the outbreak of war in 1914. So I expect that decades from now, the consensus will hold that what became known as the 21st century began in the year 2020, with the pandemic serving as a catalyst that accelerated already existing trends and forced changes to prevailing norms and practices. This and other disruptive events that have followed are reverberating through economic and social networks and will ultimately result in some new equilibrium, but the ructions on the way there will be sharp and ever-present. Large-scale disruptions in most aspects of doing business have forced change on organizations. In this climate, the financial planning and analysis group can play a far more important role by using technology to enhance organizational agility and improve performance.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Business Intelligence, Business Planning, Financial Performance Management, AI and Machine Learning, digital finance, profitability management, operational data platforms

IBM Planning Analytics Enables Agility Based on Insight

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 18, 2022 3:00:00 AM

IBM Planning Analytics with Watson is a comprehensive, cloud-based business planning application that supports what Ventana Research calls integrated business planning. We coined this term in 2007 to describe a high-participation approach to business planning that integrates strategy, operations and finance. Our Next Generation Business Planning Benchmark Research demonstrated the value of IBP: Organizations that link planning processes get better results. Sixty-six percent of organizations that have an integrated method say it works well or very well, compared to only 25% that have little or no connection between plans.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Office of Finance, business intelligence, embedded analytics, Business Planning, Financial Performance Management, Watson, Digital transformation, AI and Machine Learning, profitability management

Planning for a More Uncertain World with Board International

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The door opened to a new world in 2020, one that renders old assumptions suspect and future outcomes more varied and uncertain. It’s likely that the transition to what’s next will be bumpy, which makes planning more effectively that much more strategic.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Business Planning, Financial Performance Management, digital finance

Prophix’s Finance Platform Boosts Midsize Departments’ Effectiveness

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 10, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Prophix offers cloud financial software for planning, budgeting, reporting and statutory financial consolidation designed to meet the requirements of midsize organizations and divisions of larger corporations. The company was one of the first to offer a planning platform capable of bringing together a company’s diverse planning processes and financial planning and budgeting. Its consolidation and close automation enable a shorter close and improved accounting staff productivity for midsize corporations that have even moderately complex legal entity structures that operate in multiple currencies. Increasingly, organizations are finding that having the right finance and accounting department software tools helps attract and retain the best talent.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Business Planning, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, digital finance

Vertex Manages End-to-End Indirect Tax Compliance Worldwide

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 8, 2022 3:00:00 AM

The worldwide market for software to manage indirect income taxes, which includes sales and use, goods and services (GST) and value-added taxes (VAT), has been growing because of recent compliance mandates, the growth of e-commerce as well as a desire to accelerate business processes by reducing friction in areas such as tax compliance, cutting administration costs and lowering risk. Vertex provides businesses with cloud-based software that manages indirect tax processes for midsize and larger companies, especially for those with complex tax profiles. Vertex enables local and worldwide compliance backed by its ongoing tax research that continually compiles tax rules for over 19,000 jurisdictions. Because links with core financials is an essential capability for organizations of any size, Vertex maintains pre-built integrations with the leading ERP and financial management systems. Cloud-based systems are now the norm to support teams that are geographically dispersed and enable hybrid work environments. Ventana Research asserts that by 2026, a majority of midsize and larger companies will have digitized their indirect tax compliance to ensure accuracy as jurisdictions step up audits to increase revenues.

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Topics: Office of Finance, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Revenue, Lease and Tax Accounting

A New Approach to ERP for a More Effective Finance Department

Posted by Robert Kugel on Nov 4, 2022 3:00:00 AM

ERP systems have been a fixture of organizational process management and record keeping for so long (more than three decades) that it is likely that few who use the software are aware that ERP is an acronym for Enterprise Resources Planning. Its smooth and uninterrupted functioning is essential to an organization’s accounting and finance processes. In manufacturing and distribution, ERP manages inventory and logistics. Some organizations use it to handle human resources functions like tracking workers, payroll and related costs. Its initial introduction represented a major advance, but its subsequent evolution has been slow and mainly a series of incremental refinements.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, digital finance

A Finance Department Data Strategy for ESG Compliance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Oct 31, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Sensitivity to environmental, social and governance issues – or ESG – has grown over the years and with it, increasing attention by some investors and government entities urging organizations to measure and disclose ESG metrics. 

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Topics: Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, digital finance