Creating and Following a Finance Transformation Roadmap for CFOs
In this era of innovation, establishing a finance transformation roadmap reshapes a firm into a proactive organization with a more in-depth understanding of the finance function, and fully conforms it with the company’s long-term plans.
What is Finance Transformation?
According to Gartner, finance transformation is the strategic initiative focusing on the finance function’s alignment efforts with the overall strategy.
Now more than ever, the F&A industry struggles to find the right balance between financial duties and the increasing strategic demands. A massive overhaul of your finance process, system, and operations, including all its affiliated functions and internal controls, allows you to deliver relevant changes to the table.
However, unlike other solutions such as technology implementation, finance transformation entails more time and intensive work to see significant results. It is not a low-hanging fruit that gives exceptional results overnight. A continuous initiative requires collaborative and consistent effort all the way from the management, and the internal network within the company.
Finance Transformation Framework
Fully improving your approach in connecting data using technology is only a part of the bigger picture. There’s more to finance transformation than meets the eye. Let’s dissect some parts that yield the transformation.
Finance strategy defines a well-planned blueprint of your firm’s finance transformation grounded on one communicated vision. This approach builds lasting success on insights from your business standing, stakeholder expectations, firm performance and capabilities that later on can become your company’s controlling principles.
Finance Structure and Model
CFOs use the company’s finance model to study and forecast how your financial performance is going, and how future decisions can make an impact on it.
A finance structure refers to the right balance of debt and equity that allows a firm to finance its assets and operations. CFOs are responsible for deciding the mix of debt and equity- made up of long and short-term debts, short-term liabilities, and owner’s equity- that further reinforces the financial structure.
Finance and Accounting Technology
Without F&A technology, both business owners and accountants will have a hard time managing finances. The available technology that revolutionizes the industry paved the way towards a more streamlined, cost-effective, and efficient process, which expanded the role of an accountant to a higher level.
Aside from automation, recent finance technology has put a spotlight on big data and machine learning. Harnessing insights and analytics gives you an edge as it provides in-depth figures that let you see which facets of the business generates income, and which ones need to improve.
Related: How CFO and Digital Transformation are Changing the Industry
Finance Structure and People
Fostering the transformation of the finance function is not possible without the right people supporting the change.
From the management to the operational employees, being surrounded by people with the right competencies, profound expertise, digital dexterity, and optimised performance help CFOs make more strategic decisions. A successful finance team forwards the business into the achievement of its goals in the long haul.
What it Looks Like in Practice
To have a better grasp of the finance transformation and what it does, here are some practical examples where it is applied:
In financial reporting
Once you have allocated enough funds, you can invest in automation tools to manage your reporting, budgeting, and planning process. Through technology, you have the guarantee that your finance systems follow a standard procedure that minimises errors from less to none.
In Data Management
Excel files and spreadsheets have long been replaced by cloud accounting software. You can now store and manage your numbers in different locations using just a device with a steady connection. Through the cloud’s secure and centralised feature, team collaboration becomes easier.
In Business Finances
Aside from the automation of financial processes, finance teams also submit to the expectations of the board. They must present reports and updates that reflect the company’s financial standing, and get it across to the management to make a sound decision.
Finance Transformation Benefits
Better Data, Analysis, and Reporting
A major data challenge among modern firms is their ability to turn data that translates into actionable insights. As mentioned, big data and analytics are gaining traction nowadays, and CFOs are working this to their advantage.
Through the expertise of your people and the technology at your disposal, extracting useful insights from raw figures leads to smarter and trustworthy decisions. In addition, they can also draw answers to the financial concerns of the board such as cost-cutting, spending strategy, and investment matters, among others.
Planning your finances for the long run can be a taxing process. But thanks to a CFO’s forecasting prowess, combined with the technology’s capabilities, the pressure is not as overwhelming as before.
Empower your Finance Team
One of the goals in the finance transformation roadmap is the empowerment of the finance function- which is essentially your finance team. When you do so, your people become more efficient to attend to other core finance concerns.
A finance role is usually a dynamic one, meaning their responsibilities are insufficient in regularity and predictability. The intensity of the job mostly requires them to work above their working threshold, and even continues at a high-level. To tone this down, integrating technology is a must.
When finance teams embrace technology and its role, it can fuel their productivity to an optimal extent, and prevent the employees from reaching the stage of burnout.
Business Strategy Alignment
Aligning your finance initiatives to the overall company strategy is the heart of the finance transformation.
CFOs want to make sure that there is a balance between the requirements of the finance function to provide insights, while supporting the growth of the business. Through this approach, they can pinpoint the weak link in the finance organisation to launch any required change from that point. From here, they can establish a business model that props up the business’ long-term strategic goals, and to have a better grasp of its finance movements as well.
An initial step you can take is to assess your operational plans according to your financial position today. Identify where you should invest your money, pull or allocate funds in certain aspects of the business, so you can hit your target in a deliberate manner, and without having inevitable loss.
With the exponential proliferation of data, technology, and regulatory changes in the F&A field, finding a way to adapt and respond will be our initial course of action. And a finance transformation roadmap closes that gap between being passive and being a proactive entity that has the potential to fully scale over time.
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