RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • CFOs are sitting on a goldmine of data. To effectively access, analyze, and measure its impact, they’ll need to invest in emerging technologies.
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA), smart analytics and AI are freeing up time so CFOs can think strategically about enterprise growth.
  • Armed with emerging tech and data, CFOs are attracting future finance talent who will perform beyond their traditional roles.


Disruption begets opportunities. No other C-Suite executive is better equipped to deliver enterprise-wide growth than the CFO. But to accomplish this, CFOs need to focus on three core objectives: harnessing data, leading with new tech and developing future F&A talent.

Harnessing the power of data

Data is the ultimate currency in today’s digital era—and CFOs are sitting on the proverbial goldmine. A plethora of data is providing organizations with invaluable insights that drive growth and shareholder value across the enterprise. And the CFO excels at capturing, structuring, and making better use of data to bolster the enterprise.

The problem? Much of their organization’s data is inaccessible.

80%

Nearly 80 percent of C-suite respondents say that 50% to 90% of their data is unstructured and inaccessible.

With an intelligent finance function, data is becoming more accessible and actionable. Opportunities abound for CFOs who can leverage the enormous reserves of data that organizations overlook or don’t know how to manage.



With new insights gleaned from previously untapped data, CFOs and the finance function are empowering themselves, making decisions with rapid reporting and real-time analytics. And since finance interacts with the entire enterprise, every business function will benefit when the CFO and their intelligent finance function strike gold.

Leveraging the latest tech

CFOs are reaping the benefits of their investments and achieving enterprise-wide growth through digital technologies. Innovations like RPA, smart analytics and AI are helping finance gain new insights and drive value by freeing up time to think more strategically. As these technologies continue to converge, CFOs must meet them at the riverhead and steer them toward the best opportunities to drive value.

 

60-80%

60-80% of backward-looking accounting activity can be automated with limited or no human intervention.

<50%

Less than 50% of all finance tasks will be automated by 2021​.

Driving efficiency, improving decision-making, solving business problems; these are the benefits CFOs can look forward to as these digital technologies become embedded within the finance function. Effectively communicating the benefits of technological investments will be key for CFOs who aim to lead tomorrow’s intelligent finance function. The stakes are high, but so are the rewards.

Attracting future finance talent

As the responsibilities of CFOs and the finance function evolve, so will the profile of prospective talent. Today CFOs need employees with a wide range of capabilities like data visualization and flexible thinking.



An intelligent finance function will be critical in attracting new finance leaders who thrive on rapid innovation. Enabling companies to change rapidly and innovate new ways of working will provide the flexibility that an intelligent finance function requires. And in a virtuous cycle, innovative opportunities will attract a mix of future finance talent. CFOs hold the key to establishing the conditions for this cultural shift in the workplace.

As CFOs drive digital adoption across the business, traditional roles will evolve and finance professionals will become true business partners embedded in all areas of the business.

Manoj Shroff

Finance and Accounting Business Process Services Lead – Accenture Operations

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