The role of the CFO in modern business is facing more pressure thanks to the increased importance of data collection, fierce competition from rivals and the need to modernise workplaces, according to a leading Australian analytics consultancy.
Brisbane-based Bistech has released a report which shows there may be no position under more pressure in businesses right now than the CFO.
Bistech's state of play report into financial modernisation outlines the tipping point that a range of Australian blue-chip brands found themselves at, before realising they'd fall far behind the competition if they didn't act.
"CFOs who don't realise this and take advantage of progression in technology will fall behind," says one of the Bistech Directors, Shane Morgan.
Shane points to international corporate heavyweights such as IBM and KPMG which have already identified the need for CFOs to stay ahead of the game and modernise their roles.
"The finance function needs to be a true partner to the business, to step away from just number crunching," says Guy Jones, IBMs' Worldwide Technical Sales Leader, Data Science & Business.
And Mo Treadway, Global Head of Financial Management Advisory, KPMG, concurs in this KPMG article, saying CFOs cannot just play it safe, they must be one step ahead in enterprise thinking.
According to Gartner research, the majority of CFOs have seen the writing on the wall, with an estimated 72 percent of organisations intending to modernise their finance function through the centralisation of analytics by 2020.
So how will CFOs know when they're at the tipping point? How will they know when finance function modernisation has to be an urgent priority, rather than simply an item somewhere on their to do list?
Bistech's report reveals the key moments for some Australian blue-chip brands:
- For Allianz Worldwide Partners, essential tasks and processes were taking too long. The organisation was managing their financials in flat files requiring manual updates with every change. It simply became untenable.
- For ALS Global, rapid growth and complexity of structure was the catalyst for change. The growth brought constant restructures and their existing finance system couldn't keep up. Every change became problematic.
- Errors and inaccuracies brought Auto & General to its tipping point. Their challenge was that every number was different. Each business unit had different reports and different views of things. The MD couldn't trust the numbers or get a single version of the truth. He needed this to change so he could make strategic decisions about the company's future.
Bistech's report into financial modernisation in Australian blue-chip organisations is an insightful whitepaper dissecting this complex issue and outlining how CFOs can modernise.
It analyses how fast the industry is changing and how those changes have deep-reaching implications for organisations' finance functions. It touches on the role of predictive analytics ground-breaking technology in AI/Machine Learning. Ultimately, though, it notes that organisations must have the correct foundations in place first.
With a modernised finance function, CFOs and their organisations will be way ahead of their competition.
This article is written in conjunction with with our commercial partner Bistech.
Business News Australia