3 minute read 27 Oct 2020
Reframe your future digital city

How do you transform at speed to build value that lasts?

Authors
Christian Mertin

EY Global Finance Consulting Leader

Finance professional and strategist. Focused on developing finance to support long-term value creation. Actively supports gender equality and women careers. Passionate swimmer, diver and connoisseur.

Myles Corson

EY Global and Americas Strategy and Markets Leader, Financial Accounting Advisory Services

Supporter of finance leaders and functions of today and tomorrow. Global citizen. Podcast host. Curious mind. Father of two energetic boys.

Dave Helmer

EY Global Tax and Finance Operate Leader

Helping companies reimagine the tax and finance function.Speaker. Passionate runner. Husband and father of seven.

Loren Garruto

EY Global and Americas Corporate Finance Leader

Results-oriented business advisor focused on driving shareholder value. Collaborator, developer of people, avid reader and proud mother.

3 minute read 27 Oct 2020
Related topics COVID-19 CFO agenda Consulting

For many companies, the economic impact of COVID-19 has pushed the need to reshape and reinvent financial fundamentals to the top of the boardroom agenda. 

In brief
  • Unresolved issues, such as implementing new business models, that the C-suite have been debating since the global financial crisis can no longer wait.
  • It is no longer a case of “can we afford to?” but “can we afford not to?” Central to resolving these fundamental challenges will be the CFO.
  • Finance touches every aspect of the company. CFOs are expected to drive strategic leadership and influence business decisions with real-time insights, to create sustainable, profitable growth and long-term value. 

CFOs reassessing their transformation priorities in the post-COVID-19 world will need to consider how the future of finance moves toward:

1. A resilient and lean finance function

Ensuring finance is a purpose-driven function with talent of the future, an agile service delivery model and technology at its core. Integrated teams across traditional siloes, including treasury, tax and transactions – at times supported by a co-sourcing with service providers – need to work in a self-organized way to solve frequent challenges. Innovation, driven in the context of powerful ecosystems and strong capabilities to leverage on data analytics and AI will be key to reduce cost, minimize risk and to drive value.

2. Trusted accounting and compliance

Enriching corporate reporting with an analytics-driven long-term value reporting to reveal the true value of the business and increase compliance and trust, is at the core of the future CFO agenda. CFOs are increasingly challenged to provide information for a very diverse set of stakeholders, from customers to social influencers. Increasing this transparency in areas like sustainability usually creates measurable impact on a company’s market position, brand reputation and market value.

3. Value performance management

Given the intense scrutiny that companies are under today, especially in the context of environmental social government goals, it is essential that CFOs balance long-term value against demand for short-term results, and drive performance against purpose. Enhancing finance with a fact-based decision culture by utilizing analytics and digital to leverage data for business insights and manage critical value flows along financial, business and unstructured data, will be a true must-have. Also, finance functions will need to consider real time, dynamic data fabrics that directly integrate with stakeholders.

4. Agile corporate finance and tax

Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times require fast and impactful business support across business units and geographies. Transforming headquarter and central finance functions into agile and integrated business support teams will be essential, be it for strategy and change execution, technology deployment or funding and allocation of capital.

5. Value-driven enterprise transformations

Business models and customer expectations are changing quickly as the boundaries of finance are expanding. The future finance function will be a transformation engine, meeting the needs of ever changing business/service models and will drive headquartered strategy and decisions into detailed concepts for operations and regions. It will convert into being a flexible, global service platform to enable transformation, such as reshaping the business portfolio, the realization of cost reduction programs or the implementation of Center of Expertise services.

In the future finance function, CFOs will be fulfilling a much broader remit than they do today. Their role will evolve accordingly. The definition of new value levers centred around humans, technology and innovation will be key to this evolution and will lead to a substantial change in enterprise culture. Applying these levers consistently will be mandatory for enterprise success in a rapidly changing world, also in the context of a structured ecosystem with a select set of partners. It is now time for CFOs to embrace the opportunity to transform.

CFOs understand that balancing new digital mandates against the pull of traditional responsibilities is key. Seventy percent say that CFOs will have significant involvement in ecosystem/platform strategy development over the next three years.
DNA of the CFO, EY, October 2020

Summary

Executives planning the recovery of their enterprise must push further than the cost and resilience issues brought forward by COVID-19. This is an opportunity to reframe, reimagine and reinvent the finance function that leaders should embrace with total commitment – and the key enabler will be the CFO.

About this article

Authors
Christian Mertin

EY Global Finance Consulting Leader

Finance professional and strategist. Focused on developing finance to support long-term value creation. Actively supports gender equality and women careers. Passionate swimmer, diver and connoisseur.

Myles Corson

EY Global and Americas Strategy and Markets Leader, Financial Accounting Advisory Services

Supporter of finance leaders and functions of today and tomorrow. Global citizen. Podcast host. Curious mind. Father of two energetic boys.

Dave Helmer

EY Global Tax and Finance Operate Leader

Helping companies reimagine the tax and finance function.Speaker. Passionate runner. Husband and father of seven.

Loren Garruto

EY Global and Americas Corporate Finance Leader

Results-oriented business advisor focused on driving shareholder value. Collaborator, developer of people, avid reader and proud mother.

Related topics COVID-19 CFO agenda Consulting