RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • The roles of the CFO and the finance function have grown and one of the emerging areas of focus is overseeing the company’s digital strategy.
  • As the catalyst of digital strategy, CFOs are looking to strengthen their organization’s technology to drive breakout value.
  • A platform-driven finance transformation allows CFOs to deliver on this critical responsibility and drive business value creation.


As enterprises have placed greater demands on the shoulders of chief financial officers (CFOs) and their finance functions, we have seen a steady rise in the importance, reach and influence of CFOs throughout their organization. Today, CFOs wear multiple hats and take on many roles, and one of the emerging areas of focus and responsibility is overseeing the enterprise’s digital strategy.

As the catalyst of digital strategy, CFOs are looking to strengthen their organization’s technology to drive breakout value and build a sustainable future for the enterprise. Leading CFOs are turning to platform-drive finance transformation to deliver on this critical responsibility and drive business value creation across the enterprise.

Nearly three-quarters of CFOs surveyed as part the Accenture Global CFO Research claim they now have the final say on the appropriate technology direction of the enterprise.

Getting the platform right

Across industries, leading CFOs are leveraging new and powerful technology platforms to drive transactional change and efficiencies and support what we call the “Intelligent Enterprise.” Namely an organization capable of delivering great value under the most dynamic and demanding market circumstances.

Platforms play an important role in any transformation, but a modern operating architecture is necessary to make the right investment decisions and deliver the desired goals. The foundation for such an architecture rests on 3 building blocks:

  1. Systems of reference – Core enterprise resource planning (ERP) and processes focused on simplification and standardization to make it easier for core apps to access and use data.
  2. Systems of intelligence – These are systems that fuel innovation, including technology levers such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT).
  3. Systems of differentiation – Connected applications that focus on specific areas of differentiation and that address complexity using a flexible tech architecture to support changing customer demands.

As enterprises embark on their digital transformation and to build momentum to keep the transformation on course, CFOs need a clear vision and focused strategy.

Platform-driven finance transformation benefits

A platform-driven transformation can deliver significant benefits, key among them is a simplification of basic financial activities such as reconciliation and closing. Other benefits include:

  • Providing a better grasp of data and bring finance closer to the coveted “single source of truth” in terms of business and financial information.
  • Facilitating integrated business planning, improving profitability analysis, better assessment of the value of products and services delivered versus their costs and identifying costs associated to complexity and poor planning.
  • Simplifying the integration of M&As, making it easier to incorporate information from different sources and systems.

The benefits of a platform-driven transformation can be extended to the broader enterprise to deliver:

  • Lower planning and logistics costs
  • Improved sales and customer service
  • Better strategic decision-making
  • Better information technology
The first step on the path to platform-driven transformation is the development of a desired end state.

72%

of surveyed CFOs believe their company needs to completely rethink processes and operating models to be more resilient in the face of impeding disruptions. (Source: Accenture CXO Pulse Survey)

73%

of surveyed CFOs are retooling finance with the latest technology to maintain influence across the enterprise. (Source: Accenture Global CFO research)

The time to transition is now

The capabilities and insights delivered by a platform-based transformation are especially important now, as the digital economy deals with high levels of uncertainty, volatility and complexity. Our experience confirms that organizations that have taken steps to digitize finance and other key functions are better positioned to bounce back from difficult conditions and seize new opportunities as they appear. Platforms play a central and essential role in building greater organizational resilience and sustainable growth going forward.

David Davidson

Senior Managing Director - Strategy & Consulting, CFO & Enterprise Value North America Lead


René Van Heijningen

Managing Director – CFO & Enterprise Value


Constantin Holzner

Lead – SAP Finance Transformation


Corinne Koppel

Managing Director – CFO & Enterprise Value

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