CFOs are agents of change: Moving from ‘historian’ to ‘visionary’

A heady mix of technological and social forces are changing the rules of business, forcing organisations to rethink and often reimagine how they survive and then thrive in this digital era. This new landscape of fast-paced, digitally driven business is resulting in new problems that traditional approaches simply cannot address. These problems reach far beyond traditional concerns of continuously improving how work is done, to focusing on delivering outcomes for customers in the way they expect – which requires new insights and ways of operating.

Regardless of the size of an organisation, customer expectations of how products and services are delivered is by far the biggest disruptor. As consumers, the highly interactive and engaging experiences that retailers and service providers are delivering through new and emerging technology is satisfying our increasing need for instant gratification and personalisation. These new expectations are also causing a massive shift in what we want from our workplaces, which are mostly unmet due to processes and legacy systems that cannot deliver the same levels of user experience and speed of outcomes. Add to this the war on talent and the challenges for today’s business leaders seem almost endless.

While technological advancements have improved the ability to optimise internal business processes, the real muscle is in its ability to be integrated and coordinated across the entire ecosystem of a business. Whether it’s helping to deliver personalised products or services, engaging customers 24/7, automatically detecting risk or fraud, or proactively identifying new growth opportunities, these technologies have the power to transform businesses.

Today’s major challenge for businesses is, therefore, selecting the right technical foundation, which when considering the integrated nature of customer interactions and financial transactions, is increasingly forcing finance teams into the spotlight.

Though they may not realise it, CFOs have a new mandate, to move beyond their traditional roles and lead companies into the new frontier. A frontier made up of seemingly endless possibilities, which are now made visible through the vast amounts of data available thanks to an increasingly connected and digitalised world.

While today’s CFOs have been tasked with analysing the past, tomorrow’s CFO is expected to be a visionary, using and analysing data to predict the future direction of the organisation, to uncover hidden opportunities and close information gaps. As the gatekeepers of data and analytics, the CFO of tomorrow will drive digital transformation throughout the entire business, not just the finance function.

You can read more about the ‘CFO 3.0’ in this whitepaper. In the paper, The Access Group identify the top pain points for finance functions in their quest to grow and maintain a competitive advantage – including managing expectations around technology adoption demanded by new workplace expectations, and closing resourcing gaps in an industry which is increasingly data and insights driven.

Workplaces – and indeed CFOs – of the future, must be thinking about how they use technology to complement and augment the value bought by creative and forward-thinking individuals. Using automation and systems integration to reduce and remove the repetitive, mundane and error-prone tasks swallowing up huge amounts of time and effort. This is about giving people the freedom to do more.

The paper also gauges the impact of digital transformation on small and mid-sized organisations, compounded by accelerated advances in cloud computing, big data management and Artificial Intelligence (AI). All of this fosters further understanding of how the role of the CFO moves from ‘historian’ to ‘visionary’, whilst playing a larger role in leading the digitalisation and sustainable growth of businesses.

Armed with powerful data, the right tools to generate accurate analysis and insights, and the backing of the business to make swift and responsible decisions, CFOs are poised to be agents for change. Technology is an enabler, but the extent to which it transforms a business lies with those who are prepared to take the lead.

Download the free whitepaper today, and set yourself up for CFO success in 2023 and beyond.