Technological advances are changing the face of the Finance function, from RPA automating mundane tasks, to sophisticated analytics and reporting models, resulting in digital transformation projects for finance teams across every sector. However, despite 77% of CFO’s claiming there has never been a more exciting time to be a finance executive, many are still struggling with the transformation to become a genuinely agile Finance function. From investing in the right tech for their organisation to its implementation or new data security considerations, CFO’s have had to become both IT experts and project management specialists to ensure a successful digital transformation.
Here are four steps they can take to succeed:
Make sure that the day-to-day core business has no downtime and keep that running effectively while introducing new initiatives elsewhere. There is no need to change absolutely everything at the same time, and those that do, will invariably fail. New systems and processes should be adopted by a small team at a small scale to ensure they work reliably and efficiently before rolling them out on a larger scale. It is estimated that 72% of digital initiatives fail to meet their revenue targets, so testing the water is crucial.
Agility involves being able to anticipate changes on the horizon and react accordingly in advance, rather than after the fact. Being able to reallocate resources if something isn’t working can pre-empt expensive mistakes, as well as keep the Finance function at the forefront of reporting and insight to the company stakeholders. Businesses with agile Finance functions are more likely to be growing profitably.
The technology isn’t solely there for the new processes and systems that are part of the digital transformation, it is also a game-changer for the daily roles of Finance professionals. The medium to long-term view of the implementation of tech is that significant hours should be freed up for higher-value work, such as strategic analysis, once the more transactional processes are taken care of automatically. Decision making and reporting should also be significantly quicker, enabling Finance to take a more prominent advisory role in any strategy and growth discussions.
Finance professionals with specific digital skills and experience may be the way forward after a successful transformation, but to get there may also involve some specialist interim talent. Very few Finance functions will have all the project management, IT and transformation experience in-house, and now is the time to invest, to ensure a successful outcome. Finance talent is evolving rapidly with the new skill sets required, many having already been through a digital transformation or already experienced in the new technology, and they want to work for a forward-looking, agile business.