As we begin to emerge cautiously from the pain and disruption of recent times, finance leaders must look to the future and determine how best they can lead recovery.
There is no doubt that collectively this is one of the most challenging business environments ever faced. For CFOs, there are several competing demands that have increased the complexity, not least, the need for immediate stabilisation and the need to thrive into the future.
The need to protect value today and drive growth is an exciting challenge for finance leaders, but one they must strike a careful balance to meet. In this article, I will discuss those competing demands and the key responsibilities of the CFO role today.
The pace of change in the CFO role has not let up. The transformation of the CFO role is accelerating as it is disrupted by a range of forces: digital acceleration, volatility and intense scrutiny.
Finance leaders must consider their future operating model and embrace the notion that it will continually evolve. As their organisation’s strategic priorities will shift rapidly, finance leaders must have the agility to change with them.
The accelerated pace of technological change has had a profound impact on the evolution of the CFO role. With volatile markets and the rapid advance of technology, not to mention new market entrants, it’s imperative that finance knows how to transform into a data-driven, smart function that makes better decisions.
For CFOs the key battleground is leading the transformation that ensues from technological innovation. A very large part of that is anticipating how the next wave of technology will transform the way finance adds value and create the conditions for the function to innovate in what can be a risk-averse culture.
COVID-19 is forcing a rethink of business-as-usual activities with remote working a central component for many organisations. These new technology-enabled ways of working bring both opportunities and risk for companies. Important lessons have been learned in our response to this crisis that can be ‘bottled’ for the ongoing transformation drive.
The ability to transform into the future will depend on the ability to maximise new and emerging technologies, while also leading on ethics, trust and transparency in the digital age.
Building trust in data analytics and emerging technologies like Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain and AI is critical to building tomorrows digitally enabled and talent-rich finance function. The key challenge for the CFO is finding the balance between technology and people.