There are three areas for CFOs and finance leaders that will likely be important as the finance function continues to evolve and provide the trusted and enhanced reporting insights their business requires:
1. Resolve the ESG reporting gap with investors
CFOs and finance leaders can play an instrumental role in helping to meet ESG requirements from investors. As a starting point, they should assess their organization’s current approach to ESG performance measurement and reporting, to better understand what is material, and how they could move the focus toward what is truly important to drive long-term value.
2. Take the lead in advancing the ESG agenda among C-suite peers
As well as making sure there is a strong connection between financial and nonfinancial reporting, and that ESG reporting is material, CFOs and finance leaders should be proactive and work with CEOs, COOs, CSOs and risk officers, and their boards to advance ESG and sustainability performance as an important strategic objective. This includes the link between ESG and long-term value, and encompasses both strategic growth and risk management.
3. Catalyze change and drive innovation across finance operating models, advanced data analytics and talent
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major societal challenge, it has also been a time when organizational functions – such as finance – have responded with great creativity and innovation as they found new ways to operate in a COVID-19 pandemic world. Today, there is an opportunity to build on that trend. This involves building more agile and fluid operating models; setting out a bold technology roadmap for transforming financial analytics and providing enhanced and trusted reporting, including advanced tools such as artificial intelligence (AI); and developing a future talent strategy for finance that is based on continuous and dynamic learning and which attracts and motivates the next generation of CFOs and finance leaders.