Between March and May 2020, we asked 225 CFOs from global organizations how they’re rising to the challenges of COVID-19 by initiating finance digital transformation.
Get a rundown of the findings and learn how finance digital transformation helps CFOs adapt to unprecedented change.Download the Full Report
New CFO priorities in response to the pandemic.
While just 5% of CFOs were focused on finance digital transformation as COVID-19 unfolded, 34% now plan to prioritize it within the next year.
More than half (54%) of surveyed CFOs have implemented digital transformation initiatives for their finance organizations.
The remaining respondents (46%) say they haven’t yet started their digital finance transformation journeys.
70% of digital accelerators consider their teams to be better at responding and reacting quickly to change.
73% are confident in the accuracy of their two-year P&L forecast.
Nearly 79% of digital accelerators describe their team as more proficient at reporting, planning, and financial close.
While finance digital transformation offers proven benefits, implementation has still remained slow. According to the surveyed CFOs, there are three main causes.
Through recruitment and reskilling, CFOs can work with HR to build a workforce that drives digital transformation and meets finance’s broader goals.
By embracing new technologies, processes, and ways of working, CFOs can create agile workplaces designed to adapt.
Roughly half of CFOs say that critical business decisions are delayed because of conflicting data between finance and operations and a lack of real-time data. What’s more, inadequate data capabilities are leading to suboptimal enterprise performance reporting and analytics.
Bringing performance, operational, and finance data together in the same system can provide the timely, accurate insights that today’s organizations need.
How can CFOs and their teams use data more efficiently? Our survey uncovered five key areas to focus on.
Recruit and train teams that can fully leverage technologies—such as machine learning augmented analytics—to manage and analyze data.
Place tight governance controls on how data is accessed and how it’s used to better address today’s data privacy regulations and increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats.
Don’t just implement AI for the sake of it—determine which finance processes could benefit most from automation and machine learning, such as planning and budgeting and financial consolidation and close.
Avoid data conflicts altogether by using a cloud enterprise system that brings all your data together in one place.
Treat data as a strategic business asset and take more ownership of how it’s collected, stored, analyzed, and managed.
When asked which skills were most essential to future success, CFOs zeroed-in on predictive modeling and scenario planning, as well as risk identification and management.
These skills help CFOs better plan for change and navigate uncertainty while managing a broad spectrum of risks, including cybersecurity and supply chain interruption.
Not surprisingly, the least-desired skill by CFOs is spreadsheet proficiency.
For many CFOs, COVID-19 has heightened the importance of agility and has proven that digital transformation is more than a nice to have—it’s necessary.
As the survey shows, CFOs who pursue finance digital transformation have more agile business practices, make faster decisions, and perform more efficient reporting, planning, and financial close.
And while transforming the finance function is not easy, CFOs are more than up to the task and have the power to drive lasting, meaningful change.