Accenture’s research demonstrates that consistent expansion in the CFO’s role and remit make them a pivotal figure in realising technology-powered growth. As they do this, CFOs in the UK tell us they are playing a leadership role in driving transformation. We see them pushing their teams to adopt a more future-focused mindset, and taking steps to strengthen and capture the value of increasingly rich data that is critical.

"Despite uncertainty, we see some firms in the UK pursuing bold transformation initiatives"

– DAVID AXSON, Senior Strategy Executive Principal – Accenture CFO Strategies and CFO and Enterprise Value, UKI

Leading the charge to a digitalised future

Eight in 10 CFOs in the UK (78 percent) say they are focusing time and effort on business-wide operational transformation. They are also the most likely, across almost all countries in our survey, to have engaged the wider finance function in this activity.

Finding the talent to scope the future

Accordingly, CFOs believe that thinking strategically about the long term is their most critical skill. They are also more likely than their international counterparts to say that activities such as scenario planning and horizon scanning are a highly desirable skill for junior finance executives.



Unleashing the power of data

We can expect the most advanced finance teams to be honing their skills around developing and communicating insights. The clear majority of UK CFOs (87 percent), for example, say data storytelling is essential for today’s finance professionals, higher than the 81 percent of their global counterparts. After all, analysis is only as good as the decisions that result from it.

Conclusion for the future UK CFO

As CFOs approach a complex future, our research suggests three priorities should be front of mind.

Upskill to foresee.
Economic and political uncertainty makes it vital for finance teams to undertake forward looking strategic analysis, but is the function ready to provide the guidance needed? Leading CFOs are upskilling their teams to address this gap.

Drive technology adoption and demonstrate ROI.
UK CFOs are immersing themselves in digital technology adoption. The finance team needs to demonstrate its unique strengths if it wants to take a stronger lead—showing its understanding of the underpinning economic model and its ability to use data to quantify success.

Take ownership of business-wide data.
Robust data is crucial for UK finance teams, so CFOs need to take more responsibility for the quality of all enterprise data.

78%

of UK CFOs say they are focusing time and effort on business-wide operational transformation.

68%

of UK CFOs report that they are driving transformation at a faster rate than their business is ready for.

About the Authors

David Axson

Senior Strategy Executive Principal – Accenture CFO Strategies and CFO and Enterprise Value, UKI.​


Ambrose Shannon

Managing Director – Accenture CFO and Enterprise Value, Financial Services.​

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