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CFO's Need To Be Digital Pioneers

26th March 2017 Paul Andrews

CFOs need to become ‘digital pioneers’ to elevate their position and lead business change according to latest research that highlights the changing role of the CFO.  Family businesses need to take note.

Chief Financial Officers must embrace technology to future-proof their position and drive digital transformation in their organisation. This is according to a white paper, entitled the ‘The Connected CFO – a company’s secret silver bullet?’ produced by leading software provider, Advanced. 

The paper highlights a recent KPMG survey which found that 63% of CEOs believe that the CFO’s role will increase in significance over the next three years, compared to other C-suite positions. However, only one in three of those surveyed felt that their CFO was up to this challenge.

As many finance tasks become automated, technology is changing the role of the CFO by enabling them to spend less time on gathering and comparing data, and more time on high-level, strategic activities. Previously regarded as just the financial gatekeeper of the organisation, analytics tools and big data present CFOs with an opportunity to elevate their position by establishing themselves as digital pioneers and business enablers.

The white paper claims that this changing role has significance for the whole business. By providing more valuable insight and analysis based on up-to-date data, CFOs can strengthen their relationships with the CEO and the rest of the C-suite, as well as identify areas where improvements and efficiencies can be made.

Andrew Hicks, Chief Financial Officer of Advanced, says, “As the availability of data increases, both the business itself and its investors are becoming more information-hungry. The CFO tends to sit at that intersect point between operations and the numbers so they are ideally placed to interpret plans and improve business performance."

“Many organisations are only in the early stages of this transformation but the savvy CFO can seize the opportunity to drive real change and be seen as a leader. Businesses are crying out for that connected, end-to-end view of data across departments, and CFOs are in the position to deliver this.” 

As technology and finance become more closely intertwined, CFOs must ensure that they have the technical skills and knowledge required for their new role. A recent survey by CFO Research of senior finance executives in the U.S. found that 93% believe the CFO of the future will need a much stronger technology skill set than at present. 64% said they had taken steps to upgrade their own skills, while 80% plan to do so in the coming year. 

The white paper highlights analytics technology as being crucial for CFOs to take advantage of this opportunity. With a single dashboard of real-time data, reports can be produced more quickly and the CFO can play a major part in creating a more reactive and agile organisation.

Hicks concludes, “Technology and big data are going to play an increasingly prominent role in the CFO’s day-to-day job. This in turn gives the connected CFO greater information and power, offering them the opportunity to elevate their own position in the organisation as key strategic advisors and enablers of business change. A connected CFO can really be a silver bullet for a company.”

To read the white paper, ‘The Connected CFO – a company’s secret silver bullet? ‘, please click here

 

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