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Become a finance leader of the future – CFO 3.0

Visionary finance leaders are evolving their roles to become major drivers of digital transformation. The introduction of new advanced AI technologies is enabling CFO’s to inform the decisions that drive their businesses forward.  

Introducing AI and automation to the financial department enables businesses to free up time that can be spent developing the creative and strategic goals of the company. Digitisation is key for enhancing the future landscape of the finance department, with six out of ten financial decision makers now driving digital transformation in their businesses. 

Finance leaders of the future will be the ones who merge accountancy, analytical, business, and strategic-thinking skills into one package by prioritising digitisation. This is CFO 3.0.

The evolution of finance

Financial departments are evolving; becoming more digital to meet the demands of consumers and the ever-changing needs of the business. This technology can provide businesses with advanced analytics to improve decision making, automation to improve processes, and metrics for improved real-time financial information. This digitisation is effectively streamlining processes and increasing efficiency across many areas of the business.  

But despite the ever-growing number of benefits of digitisation, many CFOs are still apprehensive about investing in this technology. Our research has found that 77% of finance leaders will be unable to provide crucial insights if they do not invest in financial management technology. As with any other kind of widespread business evolution, those who fail to adapt will fall behind.  

Why are finance leaders concerned?

Although the benefits of digitisation are clear, there are still finance leaders who are worried about making the shift themselves. A key concern lies with the fact that these new processes seem daunting to implement and leave finance leaders feeling pressured over the new roles they must take on as a result. 

Research has found that 70% of CFOs have full responsibility for their digital transformation, which is a new responsibility they must learn to master. But gaining the confidence to invest in digitisation measures is key to making the correct financial decisions that drive the business forward, especially since 70% of CFOs are still making decisions based on their gut feelings rather than data. 

How can tech enhance organisations?

Although CFOs may be worried, it is key that they learn the skills needed to implement new technologies, so that they are well prepared to lead digital change in their organisations. Embracing technology can aid financial teams in many areas, especially when it comes to data and administration tasks. Outdated legacy systems and manual admin processes are a key concern for many finance leaders, with 70% of CFOs agreeing that administration has a significant negative impact on team productivity.

Investing in innovative technology such as automation has the power to future-proof businesses for many years to come. For example, switching to cloud-based systems can help businesses by providing increased cost efficiencies, more flexibility, and greater integration and security. 

Although 87% of businesses are comfortable with using automation for their daily accounting tasks, 63% feel that culturally, their businesses are not ready to implement more automation. To make automation projects a success, financial leaders much involve the wider team in the decision-making process when determining which processes to automate. 

Workers are also concerned about the possibility of technology taking over their roles in the business. This is why it’s key for businesses to understand that technology should help facilitate and streamline the jobs of human workers, rather than perform them outright. Implementing a people-first strategy when introducing new technology will help significantly minimise the perceived threat technology has on the workplace. 

With 55% of financial decision makers now responsible for data privacy, digitalisation and technology investment, automation can also provide more informed data analytics and insights to help optimise the business strategy.

Conclusion

Financial leaders are realising that the digitalisation of their processes is no longer a question of if, but when. Digital technology is transforming all areas of the business, and CFOs must invest to streamline their processes, empower their people, and enhance their strategies. By embracing a people-driven, data-first approach, CFOs will be able to harness the full power of AI, automation, and cloud computing to move finance and accountancy into a new era.

Learn how new technologies are enabling CFO’s to inform their decisions and drive their business forward in new directions in our full report: 

Download > https://www.sage.com/en-gb/cfo/