Our Corporate landscapes are changing at a faster pace than at any other time in modern history. And with this comes the need for business leaders that are more engaged and more energised. Using technology, like AI, and freeing time to focus on the business and the people becomes a must for a modern CFO.
Strategy, Innovation & Engagement
For all members of the C suite, communication and collaboration have become an absolute necessity. As our corporate landscapes evolve with new technologies and new generations of employees, the traditional roles of CFO’s, CEO’s etc. have evolved.
Historically CFO’s have often been viewed, and portrayed, as number focused, robotic and process driven. A focus on the doing, rather than the what if.
Now technology has taken on so many of the more mundane elements of the finance process, and continues to deliver more benefit, CFO’s no longer need to be so focused on the day to day processes within the finance function.
If we combine technology advances, with a workforce that is going to be significantly different with the influx of Millennials and Generation Z, the pressures on CFO’s to become more engaged, and people focused, will likely continue to increase.
Driving Strategy, Innovation & Engagement
As a department, and as individuals, finance has often been an early adopter of technology, from the earliest written records through the abacus, calculator and into the world of PC’s and internet.
This forward thinking and early adopter mindset perfectly places the modern CFO as a key change manager, and technology innovator within organisations.
As our digital environments and workplaces are evolving, CFO’s are often quick to see and understand the benefits that come with cloud computing, AI, RPA, and any number of other technologies that are becoming more readily available, and at far more reasonable prices.
This feeds easily into the need for CFO’s to also become far more engaged in their business, and the people that they employ. By leveraging new technology they can drastically reduce their direct workload, and replace this with time spent on the wider business, or the members of their departments.
Creating an open and informative environment, allowing individuals to be involved in the planning and delivery of new strategies, and providing education and mentoring will allow organisations to recruit, and retain the best and brightest of the younger generations coming into the workplace.
Don’t forget, these newest employees are the generations that have had technology in their hands for, virtually, their whole lives. The idea of working in an environment where technology isn’t accessible and easy to use is not something that they relish. Equally, their focus and drive is often very different to those of their colleagues from other generations.
Too Much Time Spent On Manual Tasks
As highlighted in the Raconteur articles, vast amounts of time is still being wasted within finance teams on manual tasks. The prime example being the processing of supplier invoices.
These tasks are not value driven, they do not deliver interesting and exciting jobs or departments, and have a negative impact on departmental moral, staff retention and the wider environment.
For a modern CFO, focus on removing the most repetitive, time consuming and paper focused tasks within finance should be a straight forward decision.
The cost savings, moral boosting and positive environmental impacts that can be gained, by leveraging technology speak for themselves. The numbers are not hard to quantify and easily justify.
As technology improves, and as new tools are available to CFO’s the benefits increase. If we accept that 50% of most of our roles could be automated, and will be in the near future, it makes sense to be ahead of that curve.
This is before we even start to consider the additional benefits from technology for finance teams, where engagement with suppliers and vendors can be improved, cash flow freed up and genuine saving opportunities can be leveraged from things such as early payment discounts.
As Our World Changes So Do Our Leaders
It is becoming apparent that the world in which we live and work is changing, technology has been a massive influence on this, and has changed the way in which people interact with the world.
For any organisation, ensuring that they have leaders that are capable of far more than their traditional roles, and that they have a digital understanding and presence in their market is a must.
Whenever we pause and look at the most successful companies today, almost regardless of their product or service, the similarities are astounding.
These businesses have engaged, supportive and forward thinking boards and leaders, they are tech savvy, and are not afraid to invest in their staff, their environments and the technology that they use to deliver.
The coming years are incredibly exciting for any of us, and for CFO’s and their counterparts this is especially true.