The Keystone Group’s Brian Stewart, Panelist in CFO Magazine Playbook on Strategy Webcast, Outlines Strategies for Overcoming Finance Chiefs’ Biggest Challenges

The Keystone Group, a boutique consultancy with a focus on creating value for clients across multiple industries in a collaborative framework, continues to address the biggest challenges CFOs face with expense management today. Building on the success of the consultancy’s innovative thought leadership highlighted in a CFO Magazine webcast entitled “The CFO Playbook on Strategy: How CFOs Can Improve Expense Management,” Keystone’s Brian Stewart addresses these challenges, including ensuring a strong foundational budgeting process, overcoming vast amounts of data to get to “what does it mean,” keen analytics to identify problem areas to focus on, and getting executives to “walk the talk” to reign in overspending. Keystone continues to improve results for clients in understanding the value and benefit of dollars spent, and in executing successful strategies to control costs and improve expense management.
As the management guru, Peter Drucker, said, “what gets measured, gets managed.” Stewart advised that measurement of performance versus a baseline is the key. “We see that all top performers monitor their processes and costs with KPIs, while only 56 percent of non top performers are doing so.” Stewart notes that finance chiefs can expect several measurable benefits from a strong budgeting process, including accountability, visibility, control and ultimately an overall reduction in costs.
In reference to companies’ ability to manage costs, Stewart said, “Companies’ ERP systems are getting better and better at accumulating vast amounts of data, but the challenge internally is to efficiently navigate through the data to figure out what it all means. While there are many analytical software platforms that can help, developing and training staff to look for the “right” things is the secret to success.” Finally, Stewart emphasizes that expense management must be part of the company’s culture and DNA, starting with senior leadership. Stewart summarizes his strategy as a strong budgeting process that will translate into the right measurements and roadmap for the company. This will drive extensive analysis and foster a culture of ROI-based expense management.
About The Keystone Group
The Keystone Group has a strong focus on accelerating value creation for its clients by working closely with clients as they transition through critical trigger points, including M&A, turnaround, and other profit improvement initiatives. Targeting middle market companies, Keystone’s goal is to deliver a 5x to 10x annual return on consulting spend, by driving successful outcomes for clients. Keystone boasts clients across many different industries, and particularly prizes its client relationships, many spanning over more than a decade. For more information on Keystone, please visit