September 1, 2020
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has triggered some new thoughts on how businesses are conducted all over the world. One of such thoughts is the redefinition of the finance operations landscape, predominantly regarded as back office functions, characterized by routine and largely backward-looking transactions processing, bookkeeping and financial reporting. However, this approach is changing in the light of COVID-19 which necessitated virtual working; agile financial management which relies on predictive data analysis, changes in operating model for value creation and organisation growth. Indeed, the future of finance function is here, powered by emerging technologies such as:
Today’s Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are already witnessing gradual shifts from traditional business processes and strategies to the frontline of efficiency and strategic business partnerships.
Based on empirical data, the shift has already started as the finance workforce will likely spend majority of their time on analysis, prediction, and decision support rather than accounting, reporting and compliance. We are also gradually experiencing the following changes which are likely to be rapid within the next five (5) years:
To achieve this, organisations need to develop a pragmatic program for finance function transformation including leveraging emerging technologies and data analytics tools.
To deliver a tech-enabled finance function, organisations will need to review their finance operations and revamp their activities for better effectiveness and efficiency. Some fundamental changes must be made to the structure and operating model of their finance functions, from one that consists of accountants at varying experience levels, to a multidisciplinary team with optimal mix of relevant business skill sets.
While key finance professionals can be maintained and provided opportunities to upskill, specialized talents, such as data scientists and data story tellers, may be absorbed from other parts of the business or sourced externally, and digital resources must be integrated into the finance workflow.
Specifically, organisations will need to: