In brief

In brief

  • Banking CFOs are taking on an expanded role. They are well-positioned to help banks harness data that can generate both insights and value.
  • The challenge for CFOs is to help banks become data centric, and to equip the business with the right technology for a potentially volatile future.
  • Talent remains a challenge too: Banks should add both new skills and a new workforce culture.

Today’s banks are still working to meet changing regulatory demands while maintaining stable earnings. But they may have a new hero in their Chief Financial Officer (CFO). According to the Accenture CFO Reimagined survey, today’s banking CFOs are ideally positioned, with one foot in today’s economic and operational risks, and one foot in tomorrow’s data-driven future.

"By leveraging predictive analytics and artificial intelligence …, CFOs can drive value, improve efficiency and enable strategy beyond the borders of the finance function."

– STEVE CULP, Senior Managing Director –​ Accenture Finance and Risk

Teaming with the risk function, banking CFOs are honing their ability to predict the future. By tapping new technologies and digging into data, they are preparing banks to face future changes easily, more rapidly and more accurately. They are turning finance into an engine that can power the entire enterprise.

How CFOs become guides

To move the business forward, CFOs should guide the way toward data centricity. Our CFO Reimagined research finds three in four banking CFOs are confident that their teams can help businesses adopt a predictive, data-centric mindset.

CFOs can identify and target areas of new value, both enterprise-wide and across the extended ecosystem. They can find the right technologies to efficiently extract and leverage that value. Technology solutions can include artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud. Using cloud means being nimble: Cloud increases agility, accelerates digital services rollout and improves security.

CFOs are already taking steps to guide banks toward effectively creating more value for clients.


of surveyed CFOs are helping to drive business-wide transformation.


of CFOs are using digital technology to make the enterprise more efficient.

A data-driven culture

To provide a complete response for banks in this area, CFOs should back up data management strategies and technologies with the right talent. Banks need new skills. Hiring the best MBAs will not suffice for capturing meaning out of data. CFOs can find creative ways to bring data science skills into the organization.

Individual talent is one part of the answer. Culture is the other. Working with robots and other forms of artificial intelligence may be the new norm, and workers should see the benefits in these technologies, not the perceived threats. Among banking survey respondents, 40 percent say resistance to non-human colleagues is a barrier to adopting these technologies.

Banking CFOs should lead by example, guiding banks into the workforce of tomorrow.

Four priorities for banking CFOs

Banking CFOs should not hesitate. Our CFO Reimagined research identifies steps they can take to move the business forward and solidify the value they can deliver.

Champion the cloud

Cloud helps increase agility, supports cost reduction and provides a foundation for sophisticated analytics, making it a CFO priority.

Embody a smart-tech culture

To instill a culture in which employees are comfortable with automated tools, CFOs should embrace these technologies in their own work.

Find new answers to the talent question

CFOs can help pool resources across the enterprise to benefit from existing talent. Acquiring start-ups is another way to bring in fresh talent.

Embrace innovation

CFOs can push to expand the role of innovation, while making their own contribution to creating value.

View All

“Banks are between two worlds,” says Alan McIntyre, Senior Managing Director for Accenture Financial Services. “The CFO will perform an increasingly difficult balancing act between managing risk and unlocking new value. It’s difficult, and there are risks ahead, but data and the broader adoption of digital offer an extraordinary amount of opportunity.”

About the Authors

Steve Culp

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Enterprise Value, Finance and Risk

Alan McIntyre

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Banking Lead

Ambrose Shannon

Managing Director – Finance and Accounting Global Lead

Haralds Robeznieks

Senior Principal – Accenture Research


Top banking CFOs: Agile, digital and strong in ESG
CFO reimagined: Driving value & building the digital enterprise

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