In brief

In brief

  • In the digital age, the role of the chief financial officer and of the entire finance function is being reinvented. Finance is becoming an indispensable partner with lines of business.
  • Data is the central element of this reinvention. The CFO, in effect, becomes the guardian-in-chief of one of the company’s most valuable assets—its data.
  • Due to the experience and expertise, CFOs often play a key role in overseeing digitalization initiatives at the enterprise level.
  • Incoming finance talent needs how to manage and cultivate data using advanced technology and sophisticated analytics.

Accenture’s research in China—along with our work with Chinese companies—indicates that Chinese CFOs are dealing with the same issues as their counterparts around the globe. To address these changes, Chinese CFOs are enhancing their analytical skills and looking for other ways to support strategic decision-making. Abundant, readily available data is a common thread in changing attitudes and priorities among CFOs in China and around the world. We have found that CFOs are pushing hard to expand their ability to capture, structure and make better use of data.


Global finance functions are already using predictive analytics to improve their interpretation of data.


China finance executives think they will increase their influence in corporate decision making by providing insightful data analysis, according to our China CFO research.


Global finance functions are already using AI to some extent.


China finance executives are either using AI or are planning to do so.

To drive values from the data, we found China CFOs are taking actions in the following key areas:

Enhancing analytical skills and supporting decision-making

Chinese CFOs are focused on the ability to capture, structure and make better use of data. Three out of four (75 percent) of the CFOs interviewed said that establishing financial data analytical and forecasting capabilities was the top item on their agenda over the next two years.

Focusing more on growth priorities

As mentioned, CFOs and finance teams in China are very aware of the need to develop an agile, efficient finance function. Similarly, our China CFO study shows migration to digital technology and new business are companies’ top priority.

Improving the financial organization

Chinese CFOs feel pressure to constantly improve their management capability. Eighty-six percent of the companies surveyed said that lean management capability building would be one of their three core growth factors in the future.

The path forward

The benefits of digital finance transformation are great, but, given the barriers to change, what should CFOs be doing to move the agenda forward? Our research, and our experience working with CFOs inside and outside China, point to several immediate steps that companies should be taking now.

  1. Organize and improve data.
  2. CFOs should develop and lead a fast, smart investment process.
  3. CFOs should build bridges within the organization.
  4. Get the right people in place.
  5. Change the CFO culture.

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