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.