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While the forces of disruption are real, so is the opportunity. The good news is that success is achievable. Finance organizations that can master next-generation capabilities can expect to prosper in the new environment.

A number of capabilities distinguish exemplar Finance functions from others:

  • New ways of working with business partners, utilizing an agile operating model that promotes collaboration and blurs the distinction between Finance and other business functions.
  • An emphasis on predictive and prescriptive analysis and insights to guide forward-looking business decisions rather than simply measuring past performance.
  • Automation of data management, transactional processes and other activities of low strategic value, freeing Finance staff to focus on higher value-added activities.
  • Supporting, and in many cases leading, enterprise-wide innovation through dynamic capital allocation that balances investments in core areas with known technology with riskier, new-to-the-organization or sector technologies.
  • A relentless focus on talent, ensuring that the Finance organization has access to the high-level analytical, design thinking and technology skills needed in the future.
Quote by Peter Luscombe

Roadmap to a future ready finance Function

  • Transcend Finance’s role as a control function to become the enterprise focal point of enabling better business decision-making and driving enterprise performance. First determine what questions the business most struggles with, then identify what data, analysis technologies, and skills are needed to answer them. Harmonize data sources and establish a single source of truth that can be relied upon for insight generation.
  • Think like a venture capitalist. Create an agile program funding mechanism separate from the annual budgeting process that balances investments in core areas with riskier ones, and relies upon forward-looking investment criteria that go beyond pure ROI.
  • Take a comprehensive, flexible approach to talent. Given the scarcity of the most important skills sets needed in the next-generation, focus on developing staff with high-level “enabling” skills that can adapt to the changing technological landscape, and build, buy and borrow skills as needed.
  • Lead in driving the adoption of advanced analysis and automation technologies. One of the most critical characteristics that distinguishes high-performing organizations1 from others is that Finance places an even higher priority than executive management on using automation and advanced analytics to increase the quality of analysis and insights needed to answer the most pressing business questions.
  • Establish a digitally-enabled service delivery model. Do not optimize Finance processes in isolation. Instead, design operating models that enable end-to-end processes that transcend functional silos and promote self-service with the organization, with a strong focus on the customer.

Footnote: High-performing organizations are defined as ranking in the top 16 percent on a combined measure of revenue and profitability growth