The Digital Future of Finance

The Digital Future of Finance

How CFOs can make a huge leap forward with technology

According to a recently published Gartner report, 69% of business leaders are planning to use the COVID19 crisis as an opportunity to redesign their business. Of this number most expect digital technology to lead any remodel and they believe that by 2026 technology will have totally transformed their business.

CFOs are at the leading edge of business transformation; they understand that finance has a digital future. It is imperative to leverage new technologies to bring their organisation back to pre-pandemic revenue levels but also to rethink business models using efficiencies achieved through automation.

Manual tasks like searching, reconciling and comparison can easily become computer-based activities using technologies such as Robotic Process Automation, which can automate a wide range of activities without the need for complex programming. This will free up personnel to add value through data analysis and insights.

Gartner recently identified 10 must-dos for CFOs in 2021 which will accelerate the digital enterprise and the digitalization of the finance function itself.

Of the digital must-dos, CFOs rank Advanced Data Analytics, Workflow Automation and Digital Skills as the top finance trends and priorities for 2021.

Digital must do's for finance

Advanced-Data Analytics

Currently, finance teams have limited technical or domain expertise to perform complex data analysis and deploy data and analytic insights at scale, Data Scientists are needed to produce insights for decision-makers. However, as analytics are increasingly seen as the key driver of how value is created in most businesses, finance will need to expand its analytical capabilities, roles and processes and help business stakeholders to understand, interpret and use financial data to make sound operational decisions (“Top Priorities for Finance Leaders in 2021 — Gartner”)

 

Workflow Automation and Digital Skills

New technologies can drive efficiencies in a business, but finance leaders need to assess which processes are likely to be an organisation’s top priority for automation and ensure that the workforce is upskilled and equipped to take advantage of that technology.

The digital skill shortfall is acknowledged as a major hurdle by CFOs, and a study by Forrester Consulting found that automation is advancing faster than the enterprise knowledge required to support it.

Gartner says only one-third of finance leaders agree that their teams have sufficient competencies required for a digital finance function and this means the skills gap reduces the ability to exploit digital technology capabilities

82% of respondents to the Gartner study say they expect to spend more time upskilling their workforce in 2021. Of that, 78% expect accelerating digital skills in finance will be difficult to achieve.

 

Accelerate digital skills

 

Developing digital skills is a prerequisite, but according to Gartner, upskilling finance teams may be harder than it first appears. Traditional development approaches do not allow employees to immediately practice and apply learned skills. Gartner research shows that five digital competencies are key, they are technological literacy, digital translation, digital learning and development, digital bias management and digital ambition.

Conclusion

Most finance leaders are thinking about automating but are unsure where to start and understand their people need a guiding hand. A business should determine its priorities for automation based on high value and a timely return on investment. AIS has helped organisations across the globe to choose an approach wisely and focus the effective efforts for the time and budget allocated.

It uses CCH Tagetik to set a foundation for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics. Over 200 global organisations already use the CCH Tagetik solution. It empowers decision-makers and business users across all departments, helping them work smarter, streamline business collaboration, and make insight-based decisions with confidence.

If you would like further information and process steps to help, bring automation to your finance department register to join the next AIS consulting webinar. AIS can help you determine where your finance systems can add more value and be your implementation and support partner.

We are also hosting a webinar on the 30th November, 11.30 am to discuss the imperatives on the priority list for finance teams for 2022 with a focus on digital transformation and cloud software enabling the change. It will be great if you could join the discussion and share your ideas and experience with us. You can register to attend using this link – Register here.

Sources and references:

Gartner for Finance 10 CFO Opportunities to Accelerate Digital Transformation
Gartner for Finance Top Priorities for Finance Leaders in 2021
https://www.uipath.com/hubfs/Whitepapers/UiPath-Future_of_Work_TLP.pdf
https://www.uipath.com/resources/line-of-business/efficiency-finance-accounting-rpa?utm_source=GoogleSearch&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=%2Bautomation%20for%20%2Bfinanceb&utm_content=477131247334&utm_campaign=DG20FLB&gclid=CjwKCAiA9bmABhBbEiwASb35V9IesV-gjY5Ri5Kof5U4RaSVSMAl09LzWMhvEPUOecF1Eu5LkPmRixoCpWwQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/financial-services/library/making-sense-of-automation.html
The Automation Transformation in Finance – https://www.dnb.com/perspectives/finance-credit-risk/automation-finance-data-report.html