The volatile post-pandemic business ecosystem requires finance teams to stand up to the challenge and provide the required stability and competitive advantage that companies need to grow.
The meteoric rise in business uncertainty in the past few years has caused many to resort to digitalisation to survive and remain productive. However, today many find themselves at a stage where reassessing organisational priorities and finding better ways to address skill demands are critical factors in ensuring that digital transformation is a success.
And there is no better place to start than with finance teams.
Digital Transformation can help CFOs, and their teams, transcend the transactional role of the finance function. With the right tools, finance teams can generate forecasts, support senior leaders' strategic plans and decisions on critical matters like customer demand, sales forecasts, etc., and provide insight into essential levers that handle business performance. They also help facilitate the success of the other functions within the company.
As a result, CFOs are looking to digitalisation to drive sustainable growth for their businesses.
Successful digital transformation means focusing on the technology and people sides of the equation. Balancing the need to adopt new technologies to improve finance teams with skilling finance personnel to accelerate growth is required. The following steps can help ensure digital transformation helps finance teams create more strategic value for their companies.
- Leverage the right technologies: The first step to achieving favourable digital transformation results is equipping finance teams with the right technology. This is the core of finance transformation and will enable your teams to become more effective, efficient, and strategic in their work. Intelligent automation, data analytics, and system integration allow your finance teams to have the best tools at their disposal. Predictive and prescriptive analytics and intelligent automation ensure finance teams are more strategic with their work. Digital platforms, which today provide quick data visualisations and meaningful insights, are poised to increase the impact of technologies further.
- Address skills demand: The success of digital transformation hinges on having teams with the right set of soft and technical skills. While there is the widespread application of business technologies, a lot depends on the skill sets and behaviours finance teams bring to the table. Possessing the right skills to leverage analytics and data visualisation is key to ensuring transformation improves productivity. Pairing this with soft skills around creative problem solving, collaboration, and communication and companies have finance teams geared to deliver business success.
- Provide the proper support: The third and perhaps the most crucial step in ensuring digital transformation helps finance teams meet the needs of new business reality is providing the proper support. This means supporting the needs of the finance team through intelligent budgeting and agile decision-making. Such overarching support helps finance teams access the right tools and can chart their learning journeys towards greater productivity. This extends to leaders and CFOs who set the right tone by providing timely support and assistance.
In Alight's recently released guide book on Frictionless Finance, Greg Handley, Finance Transformation & Automation Practice Leader at Alight, added that today "digital finance platforms are tailor-made for the volatile post-pandemic economy. Automation is critical. While budgets are tight, finance needs to focus on strategy, not data entry. Routine processes such as invoice chasing, payroll, and expenses management, can be automated."
With the nature of the next business disruption hidden behind an uncertain future, the business's need to use future technologies within finance teams will only grow. While the potential of a renewed technological architecture is immense in reshaping the future of your finance teams, providing suitable structural supports, enabling skill development to bring finance teams up to speed, and leveraging the right business tools all go into making the transition to one successful.