In brief

In brief

  • In unpredictable times, the role of the CFO is changing, from accountant to architect of business value.
  • Real-time financial insights and intelligent forecasting capabilities have never been more critical to the finance function.
  • SAP S/4HANA® for central finance helps CFOs create a living vision of the enterprise—and a single version of the financial truth.
  • This report explores the key factors to consider in embarking on a Central Finance transformation and how to approach the journey.

The CFO moment is now

The world is changing fast, and the role of the CFO is changing with it. In unpredictable times, finance functions must be ready to move rapidly and operate in new situations. Real-time financial insights and intelligent forecasting capabilities are never more critical than when organizations find themselves under unexpected stress and forced to adapt to fast-changing circumstances.

As the CFO’s role evolves and expands in response to this accelerated pace of change, speed, agility, and accurate insights are becoming key differentiators. However, the fragmented nature of many of today’s finance systems, especially in large global organizations, are holding CFOs back.

When complex webs of legacy ERP systems are mapped to other systems, and supported by duplicative, inconsistent, or highly manual processes, CFOs typically must rely on a consolidation system for their reporting and financial management needs. That leaves them a long way from getting what they really want—a single real-time version of the financial truth across the whole organization.

Accelerating the journey to a modern SAP landscape

SAP S/4HANA® for central finance (Central Finance) can help move a finance function to the cloud fast, while empowering CFOs with a single central source of truth. 

By replacing fragmented data and disparate systems, this centralized source of financial and management data enables CFOs to see the big picture, creating a living vision of the enterprise that enables them to not only make but also continuously adapt future plans.

Central Finance can offer a faster and more flexible route to a modern SAP finance landscape than the traditional multi-year staged deployment of an ERP overhaul. But which organizations are best suited to Central Finance—and how should they approach the transformation?

In this report, we set out the key considerations that govern the decision, explaining our three Central Finance enterprise archetypes:

CFOs that want faster finance insights.

Typically, large global companies that want to get better and faster financial insights out of their diverse collection of ERP platforms, finance-related technologies, and data models.

CFOs looking to centralize operational excellence.

Typically, very large global organizations, with multiple business units and complex multi-ERP environments, that want to enhance their operational excellence.

CFOs needing to rapidly integrate acquisitions.

Companies that engage in regular M&A activity and need to quickly integrate financial reporting for acquisitions with minimal disruption.

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Bring SAP financial data to life—faster

The need for a digitally enabled and adaptive finance function has never been greater.

Central Finance is not the only way to approach an S/4 transformation. Getting to S/4 can be a complex journey, and there are many possible paths to the destination. Every organization must weigh up the benefits based on its unique circumstances and objectives.

For the right organization, Central Finance offers a compelling route to accelerated value—and a way for CFOs to become agents for change, with the confidence to shape and accelerate the transformation of their business.

Paul A. McDonald

Executive Principal – Tech Consulting

Jose Moran Moya

Executive – Technology Consulting


Seven secrets to a successful finance transformation with SAP S/4HANA®
Driving value-led finance transformations

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