Focus on what counts
Insights

The Age of Digital Finance Has Arrived for the Middle Market

Part 1 - Digital Transformation in Finance

January 31, 2019
view all archive

We may not know exactly what the future holds for us, but we know for certain that digital disruption is coming to the middle-market. In the finance function, this creates the opportunity to revamp finance processes, enhance employee’s skills, and utilize the right technology solutions to reduce complexity and increase the strategic value of finance within the business. In this digital world, having a clear vision and strategy for your finance function is critical for this to happen.

Keeping this in mind, we present three lenses through which to view digital transformation’s impact on your finance strategy and roadmap. 

  1. The evolving role of finance: becoming the business intelligence hub
  2. Finance cycles: bringing finance closer to real time
  3. Workforce and workplace: a new finance talent model

The evolving role of finance: becoming a business intelligence hub

As advances in technology continue to enable repetitive finance processes to be automated,, the finance role will transform from transactional finance to an analytical function that provides business intelligence and insightful information to management. For example, the finance team can analyze trends in KPIs (key performance indicators) and then collaborate with the business to provide actionable insights that improve operations and influence the performance of the company.

Some finance organizations will evolve into fully-fledged business intelligence service centers. Whether finance continues to direct the resources currently under its control will be dependent on its ability to add value, and that will require quality insights and exceptional customer service to the business operations. 

Finance cycles: bringing finance closer to real time

Periodic reporting will no longer drive operations and decisions as it did in the past. Today, many finance cycles are driven by technology constraints and data-processing limitations. Things happen on a regular schedule because that’s the only way they can happen. When information becomes instantly available to those who need it, traditional cycles become unnecessary. This frees people up to focus on discovering new insights and acting on them.

When both actuals and forecasts can be produced instantly, on demand, traditional cycles become less relevant. The old distinction between operational and analytical data begins to disappear. Finance organizations will still need to meet external demands for cyclical information, but outside investors may also want more frequent performance information. Leading organizations will be operating with a new mantra: There is no close. You are not forecasting once a month or quarterly. It’s all happening in real-time.

Workforce & workplace: a new talent model for finance

Employees will be doing new things in new ways. Finance talent models are evolving quickly, with a premium placed on data scientists, business analysts, and storytellers. This represents a dramatic shift for many finance organizations.

To get your team ready for the future you are striving for, you have to consciously design and implement your target model. Important qualities of future finance professionals include a strong customer service orientation, flexibility, and good collaboration skills—in addition to the technical capabilities needed for specific jobs. In addition, your finance team should be able to contribute to elevating the value of finance, in terms of communication, impact, and influence. Make every new hire count!

Implementing new technologies is relatively easy, compared to changing your talent model. They’re obviously connected, but cultural and organizational shifts related to your workforce may take much more time.

Citrin Cooperman’s Rapid Finance Assessment service helps accelerate the definition of your strategy and finance transformation roadmap, which can help you navigate the Digital Transformation world.

In our next edition, we discuss The Role of the CFO in the Digital Transformation World and more. We also explore technology-driven trends that helps CFOs strive in the marketplace.