Updated: May 8, 2019
“We need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable” – Oscar Wilde
The role of the finance executive is becoming intrinsically linked to technology innovation. A more strategically focused finance department will bring real added value and establish themselves as leaders of change.
This will be possible through the understanding of data, cloud and mobility opportunities. Successful CFO’s must embrace digital technologies, improve skill levels and implement innovative business processes to drive efficiency across all business functions.
Irrespective of Industry, the finance executive has a clear role to support a process that underpins the service or product of an enterprise i.e. to support those that generate revenue.
Being part of a Melbourne based business with an industry agnostic solution, my job is to seek out organisations that are growing, ambitious, or need to pivot for survival. What I have learnt and endorsed time and time again, is that if I can make a financial process more efficient, it does not necessarily create a business case for investment. It has to have an effect. If you can’t revolutionise a process to improve business, and provide insight to make better faster decisions, an investment in new tools is a luxury rather than a necessity.
There is an industry statistic indicating 86% of organisations run planning processes on Excel. This doesn’t mean that all of these organisations should aspire to move to a planning application. If you’re not growing and you are getting great results, success looks to be enduring, so there is no appetite for change you don’t have a business case to invest.
An appetite for change is not just about finance and cumbersome processes, it is about identifying that your current processes are unsustainable and there is an opportunity cost impacting the business by not changing. Make sure that whatever you invest in has a revenue impact on your business.
Most companies we work with talk about monthly processes. Some of the questions asked are what impact would a weekly or daily snapshot mean for your business in relation to forecast? If your executive had a weekly view of financials how would that impact the organisation? These types of changes can be impactful and can justify investment. Can you optimise the sales process? What did we sell? How? Where do we add resource? How long until a new starter, or project turns a profit?
Finance executives need to articulate the narrative to partners and key stakeholders so that they too, will appreciate the significance of how quickly innovation and change will impact their business.