How Finance Leaders Can Reimagine Work

The role of the CFO is changing. In this guest post from Kendall James at Collaborative Solutions, find out what the future holds for finance leaders and how technology can help them to adapt to change.

How Finance Leaders Can Reimagine Work

The office of the CFO plays a critical role in ensuring organisational agility and proactive adaptation to change. Finance leaders are no longer separate in their tasks or technology from other departments; they now need to work cross-functionally to provide the information needed to reach their goals. CFOs’ roles and responsibilities include their unique position to use data-backed insights and analytics to advise other departments and teams on growth opportunities, areas for improvement, and potential problems that may arise.

Adapting processes for finance and beyond within the modern organisation requires strong support and guidance from the CFO. Important tools and skills for the finance department include intuitive technology to attain deeper and more impactful insights, the ability to adapt to external changes, and well-informed knowledge on how to drive value across the organisation. All these critical skills can be improved by embarking on a digital transformation journey and moving beyond legacy ERP systems.

There are many ways that the CFO can participate in business process modernisation, but the primary responsibilities that finance leaders should consider during a transformation are their roles in managing data and advocating for change.

CFO Roles and Responsibilities in Managing and Interpreting Data

Data collection is growing more complex and quicker than ever. The CFO must use this data to maintain a competitive advantage and make well-informed decisions. The Future CFO eBook explains the various responsibilities of the CFO that are evolving or expanding, including just how important it is for financial leaders to both be the keeper of data and to make sense of the data for those across the organisation. If organisational data is in silos, it’s hard to respond quickly to change.

The Gartner Predicts 2022 Report estimates that by 2025, 40% of organisations in service-centric industries will consolidate their core financial and operational solutions in a single ERP system. As a result, finance departments need improved planning and forecasting tools that allow for continuous planning with the ability to generate new reports easily.

Solutions for the CFO such as adopting a cloud-based ERP enable leaders to consolidate, report, analyse, and strategise more efficiently in one system, enabling greater agility and adaptability. In addition, using intuitive planning solutions such as Workday Adaptive Planning should be a strong consideration for finance leaders, along with managing the resulting data.

To support the organisation through more complex financial-scenario planning, how to improve liquidity management, or where best to allocate assets, CFOs need to gather reliable, high-quality data quickly. Due to its central role in an organisation, the office of the CFO is uniquely positioned to help set the overall data strategy.

As part of their responsibility to integrate, simplify, and reinforce data, finance leaders can:

  • Highlight the Importance of data quality and stability: CFO roles and responsibilities include driving transformation. By guiding the development of data governance and data management decisions, they can reinforce change management and prioritise data consistency across the entire organisation.
  • Lead data standardisation and unification across departments: In many organisations, the primary data officer is part of the IT department. However, the CFO has a unique experience as a significant consumer and provider of information across the company. While the office of the CFO cannot drive these data efforts alone, it can work to promote collaboration among leaders such as the CIO and CHRO.
  • Implement technology for improved data: Data maintenance and management has always been crucial, but in the past, it involved time-consuming manual tasks for employees. Modern solutions can be obtained by embarking on a digital transformation journey. These solutions include automation, ensuring that simple, repetitive tasks can be performed without human involvement and reducing the workload of finance teams. Machine-learning algorithms can help authenticate and cross-reference data, which reduces errors and shortens the time needed to validate the data.

Empowering Teams and Advocating for Change

A Workday CFO and CIO Indicator Study found that over half (54%) of CFOs agree that their legacy ERP systems aren’t flexible enough to meet the demands of today’s business environment. As a result, the CFO cannot maximise the impact of their work, and the data collected from their systems is less effective.

Implementing cloud-based software helps the CFO empower their teams and be a proponent of change. Focusing on how new software will link people, financial, and operational data to accumulate value now and in the future is the responsibility of leaders with large influence, such as the CFO.

Sometimes technological change can be met with apprehension, and it is the responsibility of company leaders to ensure positive reception and strong adoption of new processes. Adoption and the measurement of employee satisfaction can be enhanced by using a digital adoption platform (DAP) such as AppLearn. DAPs can track user interactions with new technology and offer support when necessary while identifying issues. The data collected improves system knowledge and helps set an adoption strategy.

By implementing Workday Financial Management and empowering teams to face the change positively, CFOs can centralise different financial tools and processes into a single source of truth. An ERP such as Workday's Enterprise Management Cloud provides a single, easily accessible source of truth for businesses to cultivate important insights that can move the organisation forward with an intelligent data core. The intuitive platform enables business process modernisation and allows finance leaders to create a technology strategy, offering the ability to build business applications and extend the platform by creating new capabilities.

Discover more about the changing role of the CFO by downloading the ‘The Future CFO: Leveraging Technology to Adapt to Change’ eBook.

Posted in:  smartCFO Magazine

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