The worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought upon unprecedented disruptions across various industries. The effects pertain to how businesses now operate, how technological innovations are becoming more and more crucial to public health and safety, as well as how executives in finance are driving more value than even in terms of strategies for sustainable growth.
According to a recently published report by Accenture, it was found that chief financial officers (CFOs) within companies have been reinventing themselves to reach these goals. The study also uncovered different trends and challenges related to the new norm, as well as provided what some of the best practices would be moving forward.
In terms of how the financial duties of CFOs evolved, it encompassed three main themes. The first theme pertained to the digitization of finance along with harnessing the power of data. An increasing focus on value creation through digital means have allowed CFOs to improve upon their strategies. Additionally, valuable insights can be gathered via data analysis.
Another theme pertained to becoming leaders of digitization efforts. The findings noted that CFOs play an important role in terms of moving businesses to the future. By developing data capabilities, these individuals can then make informed decisions in terms of investing in technology based on economic value. The study also said that this, in turn, would empower CFOs to gain access to even more useful information.
As for the third theme, it was noted that CFOs must make changes in terms of their talent development and hiring criteria in order for the next generation of leaders to update and expand upon the current requirements of the role. Skill gaps, for example, should be properly addressed in order for future CFOs to gain the expertise required in order to help support business functions at an optimal level.
The report also addressed a significant shift towards automation as such an innovation not only reduces costs, but also improves productivity levels and allows workers to drive profits through critical thinking skills.
Christopher Weber, the EVP and CFO at Halliburton, for example, created a plan to use automation for transactional activities that get pushed into his business’ service centres. “This will free up time for our people to be more focused on higher value work such as analysis and trendspotting,” he said.
Additionally, the report found that 81% of CFOs saw that looking into areas of new value across companies as a main responsibility. Meanwhile, 77% of those surveyed said contributing to business-wide transformation is also part of their duty. With such findings and statistics in mind, businesses of all sizes, along with their CFOs, should consider investing time in areas that will drive transformation and long-term value. Strategic planning, analytics, and technological innovations are must-haves for companies that wish to continue succeeding in the future.
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