CFO.21: A strategic partner and enabler of digital transformation

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The data and knowledge that financial professionals have is becoming increasingly important for entire organisations. Certainly now that there is more risk in the market, organisations are making choices based on what their financials show. As CFO, you are the designated person to build the bridge between the finance department and the rest of the organisation. With insights from figures, you help to make strategic company decisions. To be successful in this evolving role however, it’s becoming increasingly clear that new skills must be developed and honed.

A new profile

As a CFO, you no longer only check the financial lines, but you are a real strategic player within the company. It is important to bundle structured data from throughout the organisation and make it available for decision-making, forecasting and budgeting. This way, you can provide insight into the risks at any time by looking at the current figures.

In addition, the importance of knowledge on legal matters has increased, as has knowledge about risk management and security. After all, various developments such as the integration of systems and stricter requirements regarding security and privacy laws and regulations have an impact on the order-to-cash process. There are more and more (international) procedures and regulations. When all financial data is in one system, you as a CFO can make decisions based on facts. For example, you can assist the sales department in limiting the risks of a deal that crosses national borders. Questions that you have to answer include: How are you liable through all those entities? What risks does your own organisation run in various currencies, and what about the risks run by customers and partners?

Driver of digital transformation

We also see that CFOs are increasingly playing a key role in digital transformation. Our annual Fintech Barometer shows that digital transformation is a desire of many finance directors. Over a third (37%) would like their organisation to be fully data-driven within the next three years. For 90% of finance departments, digital transformation is already on the agenda for their organisation. As CFO, you find yourself on the cutting edge of strategy, operations and financial management on a daily basis. You can determine how investments and expected results balance each sub-project, and you know better than anyone what effect the investment of a digital transformation will have on the business results and the employees. This information is needed to deploy digital processes in the right places.

Lack of expertise in data processes

At present, however, over a quarter of CFOs (27%) find that a lack of expertise in data processes and analyses is the biggest obstacle to becoming data-driven. So what is the average CFO looking for in their team? According to them, qualities that financial employees must possess in the future are: analytical ability (44%), communication skills (44%) and programming skills (43%).

The modern CFO is a connector: both within the team and within the organisation. You are the internal business partner who advises policymakers and directors on strategic choices based on the organisation’s financial status. You ensure that there is real-time insight so that the right decisions can be taken, and you are also the person who ensures that the financial professionals in your team have the right skills. As CFO, you are the bridge between the financial department and the rest of the organisation, and that is exactly what is needed to make the right decisions in these turbulent economic times.

This was also published by Finance Derivative.

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