Podcast: How the Role of the CFO is Changing in BeLux

Sophie van Akker, CFO, Volvo Cars and academic Jean Giskeans join Workday country manager Dorien Roes to discuss how finance is evolving and why now is such a pivotal time for the CFO.   

Financial transformation has accelerated rapidly in recent years, partly in response to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because the speed of technological change demands CFOs take a more strategic approach. Organisations are moving to cloud finance systems to enable automation, gain insights from their data to better inform decisions, and free up more time for strategy and value creation. 

Earlier this year, Workday sponsored a study by Financial Media, “The Future of Finance as a Business Partner”. It looks at how the finance function will evolve between now and 2030. The research found that of all the challenges that businesses face today, CFOs in Belgium and Luxembourg believe the pace of technological evolution will have the greatest impact on the finance function.   

In this episode of the Workday Podcast, Dorien Roes, Workday country manager for Belgium and Luxembourg, chatted with Sophie van Akker, CFO at Volvo Cars in Belgium, and academic Jean Gieskens about the findings of the research, what’s on the minds of CFOs, and how the role of finance will change between now and the end of the decade. 

 

Here are a few highlights of the conversation, edited for clarity. You can also find our other podcast episodes here.

  • Jean Gieskens: "The office of the CFO has always been the financial conscience of an organisation. However, this conscience traditionally referred to accountability. Accountability must now be extended towards value creation. That's where the added value will lie: awareness about the value drivers of the future and the ability to analyse them in multiple scenarios, in close co-operation with your supply chain partners."

  • Sophie van den Akker: “In the past, the finance team at Volvo Cars was mainly focused on transactional tasks. Today, this role has evolved into that of business partner, whereby my team works closely with the operational functions, for example on investment requests. The business case approach plays an important role, and we proactively provide insights on the impact of decisions on costs and on the organisation's long-term goals. Finance became a trusted business partner, which requires deeper and more strategic insights, beyond the accounting aspects of the work."

  • Jean Gieskens: "In the future, we need the ability to analyse creatively and feel confident enough to ask questions like “What developments do we see in society that could have a disruptive effect on our business”. This requires creative minds that are not only analytically strong, but also able to think in multiple scenarios."

For the results of Financial Media's research into the finance function of the future in Belgium & Luxembourg, please click here.