The finance function risks being “automated”


According to Gavin Fallon, chief executive of the board of directors, the finance function risks being “automated and suppressed”. International.

“Financial executives know they have a choice,” he says. “They are either watching the automated demise of the finance function or they are seizing the opportunity to change and play a new and crucial role in the business.”

In fact, 90% of CFOs agree it’s time to accelerate the shift from scorer to performance driver, recent report finds report by the Council. The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has encouraged financial executives to take a more instrumental role in the business – a trend that is likely to continue.

“CFOs are a resurgent force in 2021 and [will continue to be in] 2022 ”, explains Fallon. “They both need and want to be more forward-looking, with an emphasis on influencing business decision-making and driving strategy. “

However, 18% of finance managers still spend most of their time fixing the basics, according to the report. This offers “fewer opportunities for more innovative and strategic time investments,” he says.

A race for digital transformation

Organizations increasingly expect digital technology to transform their industries and are rushing to accelerate these plans, says Fallon.

As such, the finance function must be able to provide more sophisticated information and planning capabilities for the management of the company. This is how businesses can evolve, “plan for the unexpected and be able to generate meaningful new insights from data beyond traditional budgeting and forecasting processes,” Fallon adds.

However, current processes are hampering the progress of the finance function as 62% of CFOs don’t believe current financial reports allow them to accurately project performance and tailor forecasting in real time, according to the board report. administration.

Likewise, 81% of those surveyed believe that the way their finance function uses technology to influence business decision-making and drive strategy needs to be greatly improved, and in some cases, a complete overhaul.

Create impact through integration

Finance teams operating as a siled department will have a harder time providing better information and presenting strategic value by highlighting the case for broader integration, says Fallon.

“CFOs must champion democratization and deliver a radically simplified data and analytics experience for finance teams that can join the dots with all of the most important strategic and operational data and information across the enterprise.” , did he declare.

Ninety-seven percent of finance executives believe their finance function could benefit from integrated strategic, financial and operational plans, the report found.

The key to successful finance office decision-making this year will be the integration of financial planning and analysis (FP&A), he says.

“As financial executives focus on rebuilding revenues and planning scenarios, this involves constant changes in products and services, pricing strategies and consumer targeting, supported by significant investments in analytics technologies. data, intelligence and planning to ensure growth remains firmly on the upside. path.”

An integrated process of financial planning and analysis, supported by the right technology, can deliver “real strategic value with real business impact”. Organizations can stay on track to achieve this winning combination of operational, strategic and financial goals, he says.

Build a strategic hub

In an ever-changing business environment, “the finance function needs to take the big step forward to become the strategic hub for driving more value from their data,” says Fallon.

The changing role of finance must therefore be reflected in the skills and culture of their finance team at large. As such, the new finance team will need to focus on “how to harness digital technology to achieve better results for finance and business”.

“The opportunity now exists for CFOs to democratize access to intelligence, analytics and planning through the cloud to provide a truly empowering and transformative experience for all finance teams,” he says. . “Using a winning combination of technology, skills and culture to transform today’s finance office will lead to the digital finance function of the future. “

The transition to a strategic hub reflects the changing talent needs that organizations seek in new hires. In fact, 87 percent of executives believe that broad business and technology skills coupled with hands-on experience will trump finance qualifications in the future, according to the board report.

Ultimately, the future of the finance function rests on those who “can leverage analytics to facilitate data generation and preparation, as well as the discovery and visualization of results, and do it quickly and easily.” Fallon adds.


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