How Finance Leaders Can Reimagine Work

The office of the CFO plays a critical role in ensuring organizational agility and proactive adaptation to change. Finance leaders are no longer separate in their tasks or technology from other departments, but rather they need to work cross-functionally to provide teams across the organization with the information needed to reach their goals. CFO roles and responsibilities include their unique opportunity to use data-backed insights and analytics to advise other departments and teams on growth opportunities, areas for improvement, and potential problems that may arise.

Adapting processes for finance and beyond within the modern organization requires strong support and guidance from the CFO. Important tools and skills for the finance department include intuitive technology to attain deeper and more impactful insights, the ability to adapt to external changes, and well-informed knowledge on how to drive value across the organization. All these critical skills can be improved by embarking on a digital transformation journey and moving beyond legacy ERP systems.

There are many ways that the CFO can participate in business process modernization, but the primary responsibilities that finance leaders should consider during a transformation are their roles in managing data and advocating for change.

CFO Roles and Responsibilities in Managing and Interpreting Data

Data today is growing more complex and collecting information at quicker rates than ever, and this data must be used by the CFO to maintain a competitive advantage and make well-informed decisions. The Future CFO eBook explains the various responsibilities of the CFO that are evolving or expanding, including just how important it is for CFOs to both be the keeper of data and to make sense of the data for those across the organization. If organizational data is in silos, it is hard to respond quickly to change.

The Gartner Predicts 2022 Report estimates that by 2025, 40% of organizations in service-centric industries will consolidate their core financial and operational solutions in a single ERP system. As a result, finance departments need improved planning and forecasting tools that allow for continuous planning with the ability to generate new reports with ease. Solutions for the CFO such as adopting a cloud-based ERP allow leaders to consolidate, report, analyze, and strategize more efficiently in one system, enabling greater agility and adaptability. In addition, utilizing intuitive planning solutions such as Workday Adaptive Planning should be a strong consideration for finance leaders along with managing the resulting data.

To support the organization through more complex financial-scenario planning, how to improve the management of liquidity, or where best to allocate assets, CFOs need to be able to quickly gather reliable, high-quality data. Due to its central role in an organization, the office of the CFO is uniquely positioned to help set the overall data strategy.

As part of their responsibility to integrate, simplify, and reinforce data, finance leaders can:

  • Highlight the Importance of data quality and stability: CFO roles and responsibilities include driving transformation, and by guiding the development of data governance and data management decisions, they can reinforce change management and prioritize data consistency across the entire organization.
  • Lead data standardization and unification across departments: In many organizations, the primary data officer is part of the IT department, but the CFO has a unique experience as both a significant consumer and provider of information across the company. While the office of the CFO cannot drive these data efforts alone, it can work to promote collaboration among leaders such as the CIO and CHRO.
  • Implement technology for improved data: Data maintenance and management has always been crucial, but in the past, it involved time-consuming manual tasks for employees. Modern solutions can be obtained by embarking on a digital transformation journey. These solutions include automation, ensuring that simple, repetitive tasks can be performed without human involvement, and the workload of finance teams can be reduced. Machine-learning algorithms can help authenticate and cross-reference data, which reduces errors and shortens the time needed to validate the data.

Empowering Teams and Advocating for Change

A Workday CFO and CIO Indicator Study found that a majority (54%) of CFOs agree their legacy ERP systems aren’t flexible enough to meet the demands of today’s business environment. As a result, the CFO is unable to maximize the impact of their work, and the data that is collected from their systems is less effective. Implementing cloud-based software helps the CFO empower their teams and be a proponent of change. Focusing on the ways in which new software will link people, financial, and operational data to accumulate value now and in the future is the responsibility of leaders with large influence, such as the CFO.

Sometimes technological change can be met with apprehension, and it is the responsibility of company leaders to ensure positive reception and strong adoption of new processes. Adoption and the measurement of employee satisfaction can be enhanced by using a digital adoption platform (DAP) such as AppLearn. DAPs can track user interactions with new technology and offer support when necessary while identifying issues in use. The data collected improves system knowledge and helps set an adoption strategy.

By implementing Workday Financial Management and empowering teams to face the change in a positive way, CFOs can centralize different financial tools and processes into a single source of truth. Utilizing an ERP such as Workday's Enterprise Management Cloud provides a single, easily accessible source of truth for businesses to cultivate important insights that can move the organization forward with an intelligent data core. The intuitive platform enables business process modernization and allows finance leaders to create a technology strategy, offering the ability to build business applications and additionally extend the platform with the creation of new capabilities.

To learn more about Collaborative Solutions Workday Consulting and Support, check out our Finance Transformation page.

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