To address the new growth model and the changes Finance would need to make, we began with a core team of Finance leaders experienced in large-scale transformations as well as newer leaders who could learn from the experience. This approach was also intended to enable the new leaders to understand new roles and make transitions quickly on the set start date of only six weeks away.
The announcement of the new growth model immediately set change in motion. The Finance team was able to draw on regular, proactive leadership imagination sessions and on an array of potential economic models, technologies, policies and approaches. The team prepared a high-level design to identify what to keep, newly design or build to represent the financials of the new growth model and to create the capabilities to perform the necessary activities. Solutions were based on collaborations within Finance and with other corporate groups. We took a fresh look at everything with a perspective of how to serve the business better and were open minded about changes.
Changes were implemented using agile methods and sprints, knowing we would need to rethink and redesign some elements after the new model start. Moreover, areas that were already set up well were maintained, and solutions leveraged; while for some areas, we needed to start from a blank slate and build solutions quickly. The major areas of focus, actions and changes included the following:
For Finance, the growth model changes drove a reorganization of the function’s structure and the technology to support it. Chief financial officers were appointed to markets, market units and services. Finance eliminated organization charts, eliminated hierarchies and created a horizontal organization in order to promote greater collaboration within the function. In addition, Finance CFOs and other corporate function leaders now represent multiple interests, working toward a shared common goal rather than siloed, individual goals. Other functions, such as Treasury, Controllership, and Client Financial Management, however, remained largely the same.
Technology and system changes
Across Accenture, corporate functions implemented their changes starting from a strong technology foundation. The new organizational structure in Finance was enabled rapidly due to Accenture’s IT strategy of having a single instance ERP fully in the cloud. Accenture’s move to SAP’s in-memory database HANA, the adoption of SAP S/4HANA and the move of Accenture’s production instance to Microsoft Azure provides corporate functions the flexibility to address new business requirements, such as those driven by the new growth model, and the ability to scale with the demands of the business.