The role of finance and how work is done will continue to evolve in 2018. “Finance teams are evolving from being centered on transactional responsibilities to being tasked with providing the business with analytics and strategic insight, helping their organization look to and move into the future,” says Betsy Bland, vice president of financial management products at Workday.
Making this shift will be top of mind for many finance leaders. Frank DiLiso, vice president of finance at TMX Group, a financial exchange services company, highlighted one issue leaders will have to address. “With increasing pressure to keep finance budgets flat year by year, finance will have to figure out how to balance the efforts required under stewardship and financial operations with providing insights and being a business partner to help their companies grow profitably.”
Many experts believe that digital technologies such as cloud computing, automation, and machine learning are key to helping finance organizations meet increasing business demands. “By harnessing digital technologies and enhancing existing analytics capabilities, finance—a traditional purveyor of analysis—could become the go-to source across the enterprise for strategic advice,” according to the Deloitte report “Tech Trends 2018: The symphonic enterprise.”
Yet all of this takes strong leadership. “Increasingly, forward-thinking CFOs and CIOs are charting finance’s course toward a digital future built around interconnected and automated systems, unified data sets, and real-time analysis and reporting,” according to the report.
Shifting to cloud computing from legacy on-premise software will be a crucial part of the creating the digital future. “A recent Gartner survey of senior finance executives found that by 2020, 36 percent of enterprises will use the cloud to support more than half of their transactional systems of record.”*