RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Accenture’s latest research shows CFOs in High-Tech are becoming stewards of digital transformation.
  • Strategic insight, coupled with data analytics capabilities, are key ingredients for success.
  • Given this redefined role for Finance, many CFOs are looking for a new skillset in their hires.


More than eight in 10 High-Tech CFOs believe that without the Finance function, their organization would fail to meet its ambitions in the digital world. As High-Tech CFOs become stewards of digital transformation, they are coupling their strategic insight with data analytics capabilities to help their companies thrive.

Our job is to try to come up with the right actions to take, rather than simply to provide data in a PowerPoint presentation.

– ERIC NOREN​, Managing Director – Communications, Media and Technology Industry Group CFO and Enterprise Value Practice Global Lead

Owning the transformation agenda

CFOs in High-Tech are the most likely, across industries we surveyed, to believe that Finance should set the agenda for new technologies across the enterprise. Nine out of 10 are exploring disruptive technologies, determining the “big bets” that might benefit the business.

Through new data science technologies, visualization tools and algorithms, CFOs and their teams can now quickly, easily and economically crunch data to provide insights and predictive capabilities. Part of the CFO’s changing role is to use these analytics to improve performance reporting across the C-Suite. This close-to-real-time reporting supports strategic decision making across the enterprise, giving the CFO power and influence beyond anything we’ve seen historically.

87% of CFOs in High-Tech explore disruptive technologies while 85% of in Utilities, 77% in Consumer Goods and Retail, 75% in Metals and Mining, Banking, and Insurance, and only 74% and 72% in Energy and Comms and Media, respectively, do the same.
45% of High Tech Finance teams received increases in insight requests from management, 33% in Insurance, 30% in Banking, 28% in Metals and Mining, 27% in Energy and Consumer Goods, 26% in Comms and Media, 24% in Retail and 22% in Utilities.

Changing mandate, changing talent

Almost nine out of 10 High-Tech CFOs agree that traditional Finance positions in their organization will soon be replaced by more strategically focused roles. Traditional functions such as reconciliation, audit and payment processing will be simplified and automated.

“Pods” will become the norm in Finance organizations, tasked with working across the business to solve complex problems. These cross-functional teams will be made up of finance, data science, visualization and deep business experts who understand the business’s value drivers. Their data-based insights will drive outcomes and actions across the business.



CFO priorities

In this environment, we believe High-Tech CFOs should consider three priorities:

  1. Be an Innovator and Disruptor – As high-tech CFOs take on new responsibilities around digital transformation there is the potential, at worst, for tension with the CIO, CTO and other “pure tech” leaders. It is incumbent upon CFOs to harness data and analytics for enterprise-wide transformation.
  2. Consider radical moves in the battle for new talent – Recruiting data science and other new skills is not going to get easier. It may be worth thinking of more innovative approaches. High-tech CFOs are wise to be thinking about creating enterprise-wide resource pools, for example. Many are also engaging accelerators, incubators and other collaborations with the broader tech ecosystem to secure new capabilities.
  3. Educate employees about your automation strategy and how they fit into it – Over half of sector CFOs say automation is held back because the existing workforce is resistant to change. Allaying fears about automation and highlighting the benefits of it to employees in terms of job enrichment, new skill development and deeper business expertise will be a key imperative in the years ahead.

3OUT OF4

High-Tech CFOs have adopted robotic process automation

Eric Noren​

Managing Director


Terrence Hobdy

SENIOR MANAGER


James Staley

SENIOR MANAGER​

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