RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • SAP S/4HANA® is a significant, foundational investment in the backbone of the enterprise.
  • The workforce should also be viewed as a foundational investment. CFOs should build a workforce that can take full advantage of SAP capabilities.
  • The convergence of two forces—the changing nature of work and a changing workforce—demand a new workforce strategy.


The workforce is a foundational investment for SAP S/4HANA transformation

Although much of executives’ attention is on value-enablers such as technology, data and operating models, the rate-limiting factor is really the people. From an SAP perspective, CFOs leveraging SAP S/4HANA know that it is a significant, foundational investment in the backbone of the enterprise. The workforce, too, should be viewed as a foundational investment. CFOs should be building a workforce that can take full advantage of the capabilities that SAP can bring to the organization.

Designing an intelligent finance function

Finance teams are becoming true advisors to the business, providing strategic insight to fuel growth and profitability. The finance function of the future will team across the company’s ecosystem to foster these goals, working with everyone from data and analytics experts to an increasing set of external partners. Teams group and re-group in real time to run advanced analytics on business challenges or to uncover trapped value in the enterprise. They build hypotheses, using data and analytics to prove or disprove them. Then they focus on high-impact recommendations to business leaders, to directly improve financial performance. Roles and competencies are completely redefined in this new way of working.

New strategy, new roles, new skills

The convergence of two forces—the changing nature of work and a changing workforce—demand a new workforce strategy. This can unleash new sources of value: greater speed and agility, the creation of more valuable strategic services for the business, and an engaged finance team that is focused on a common goal—elevating finance organizations to be intelligence-led, strategic advisors of growth and profitability across the enterprise.

CFOs investing in SAP solutions and technologies should invest similarly in the workforce to ensure it is positioned to take maximum advantage of the full suite of SAP capabilities.

What pacesetters are doing today

CFOs should work with CHROs to take these first steps

1. Establish the vision and strategy for a modern intelligent finance function.

Finance is changing dramatically. This requires a new or refreshed vision of the function—a forward-looking, inspiring perspective of the new services provided and the elevated impact that finance will have on the enterprise.

2. Define the future view of work and workforce implications.

Translate your overarching vision to the design of finance work. Make a bold prediction about your automation and AI potential and envision a function that represents your post-digital ambition. Establish a future view of the workforce and partner with HR to understand workforce implications and opportunities.

3. Develop a futureproof competency model and people strategy.

Rewrite the competency model to reflect finance’s new mandate. Create new job profiles and update existing job profiles—all roles will change. Using the build, buy, bot, borrow model, define how you will transform the workforce.

Cherene Powell

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value


François Micheau​

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value


Whitney Arnold

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy, CFO & Enterprise Value

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