RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Less risk averse, leading CFOs are helping define new products and services, markets and customers as a catalyst of digital strategy.
  • In this role, the CFO’s accountability over new business models; security; and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) is increasing.
  • Some 68% of CFOs say that finance takes ultimate responsibility for ESG performance within their enterprise.


Efficiency is no longer the goal for CFOs. CFOs report that they feel growing accountability beyond the traditional finance purview. They’re seeking to create and guard value. As catalysts of digital strategy, their aim is to increase the ROI from digital investments.

We’ve identified three areas of their focus: the impact of business models; security; and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

Driving value with new business models

No longer as risk averse, more CFOs can open up the possibilities of revenue growth from completely rethinking processes and operating models to increase resiliency.

4OUT OF10

CFOs have been driving new business models (41%) and revising strategy holistically (40%).

Shielding the enterprise with security

As CFOs strive to realize their full potential as a driver of strategic change, the most cited barrier to this goal was concern about data and privacy data breaches. Many, but not enough, are planning to take action.

Only 28% of finance professionals are engaged in managing risk through data security to a meaningful degree.

Improving environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG)

As a catalyst of digital strategy, CFOs are widening their responsibility. In strategic areas that are receiving increasingly more attention, including from boards of directors, finance has moved from looking at the rear-view mirror to driving growth.

68%

of CFOs surveyed say that finance takes ultimate responsibility for ESG performance within their enterprise.

As they lead an enterprise’s digital strategy, CFOs can influence carbon footprints and take efficiency to new heights. This includes using their authority to leverage a public cloud infrastructure, which can be 3-4x more energy efficient than corporate data centers.

For CFOs to be hands on in an enterprise’s digital transformation—and for the business to see substantial benefits—a greater number of finance professionals need to be empowered to take on more strategic thinking and tasks.

Embracing the role of catalyst of digital strategy

Here are three actions CFOs can take to unlock greater value from digital investments:

  1. Bring the full power of the finance capability to strategic initiatives outside the function.
  2. Take responsibility for creating societal value through ESG performance of the enterprise.
  3. Seek support to develop broad resilience.

About the Authors

Dr. Christian Campagna

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, CFO & Enterprise Value Global Lead


Aneel Delawalla

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value


Annie Peabody

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy & Consulting, CFO & Enterprise Value


Haralds Robeznieks

Senior Principal – Accenture Research

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