RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • The finance function is using a variety of advanced tools to get its house in order with automation and digitalization.
  • CFOs and their teams are bolstering the rest of the organization by helping them make more strategic, data-driven decisions.
  • Finance is empowering other functions and driving growth at the enterprise level.


The finance department’s to-do list is shifting, and so is the role of the CFO. Automation and digital transformation continue to progress, reducing costs, improving productivity and allowing employees to leverage critical and creative thinking.

Helping the C-suite see the whole picture

What makes CFOs unique in the C-suite? It is the CFO’s responsibility to synthesize and decode rich and complex data sets, analyze potential investments and manage risks strategically and objectively. These capabilities are making strategic CFOs an even more in-demand source for data and insights.

Furthermore, when it comes to forecasting, investment evaluation, risk management, digital transformation and data stewardship, CFOs lead the pack. Since the global financial crisis, CFOs have faced greater pressure to become the “economic guardian” of the business as they bolster cyber-security, data aggregation and technology investment efforts.

Finance teams are reporting an increase in the demand for insights into a multitude of data sources:

Chart showing how Finance teams are reporting an increase in the demand for insights into a multitude of data sources

View the infographic

Identifying and managing the enterprise’s most critical data is a task that the finance function can own. In doing so, they’re embedding data across the enterprise and breaking down organization silos, benefitting the entire company.

67%

of finance leaders believe they can, and should, train executives in non-finance functions to take on finance activities such as reporting, planning, budgeting and forecasting.

78%

believe that digitalization will facilitate a rise in self-service.

Digitalization—the ability to capture, structure and make better use of data—is empowering today’s CFOs to act and lead boldly. Here are two ways CFOs and their team are using digitalization to become valued strategic enablers:

  1. Empowering other functions: CFOs are providing other functions with governance tools, controls and expert support. The result? Reduced cycle times and more personalized service.
  2. Self-reporting: CFOs are encouraging other departments to self-report so that finance can focus elsewhere.
"As transformation initiatives like analytics, big data and new operating models grow in importance, it’s time for CFOs to step up and take even more responsibility."

– DR. CHRISTIAN CAMPAGNA, Senior Managing Director – Accenture

At a time when 81 percent of all firms report they are preparing for an increasingly volatile future, CFOs are focused on strategies that drive sustainable growth that secures their organization’s future and drives top-line, bottom-line and shareholder value.



More so than ever, strategic CFOs have the opportunity and responsibility to harness their unique position and help ensure the continued success of their companies.

About the Authors

Steve Culp

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Enterprise Value, Finance and Risk


Dr. Christian Campagna

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO and Enterprise Value


David Axson

Senior Strategy Executive Principal – Accenture CFO Strategies and CFO and Enterprise Value


Haralds Robeznieks

Senior Principal – Accenture Research

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