The immediate-term impact of COVID-19 is clear. Virtually every area of commerce, from global supply chains to financial markets, has been disrupted. Finance functions have been forced to rapidly evolve to keep up with the pace of change. But thriving beyond the now means embracing the steamroller pace of this need to transform.

Finance was already experiencing significant shifts towards digital transformation. The difference now is that it is no longer a choice.

While business models are being adapted and rebuilt, the finance function finds itself in a unique position to be at the heart of change across an organization.

CFOs that do lead digital transformation initiatives are able to demonstrate significant cost savings through efficiency gains. But deeper than that, finance transformation should allow finance leaders to take a lead role in enterprise value creation and performance management.

With finances fluctuating not only month-by-month but day-by-day, agile reporting forecasting and investment flexibility are an imperative for finance functions who want to thrive in today’s world. Through harnessing the collection of data and turning it into valuable insights, finance can evolve from being a business cost center to the engine room for driving business performance.

The question is: is your finance function, and your finance workforce, able to adapt to this challenge?

Patrick Fenton, Leader of the Global Finance Center of Excellence with KPMG International, details the significance of digital transformation for today’s finance functions, particularly in reducing costs.

“Cost is a big driver in our post COVID-19 world. And businesses save on costs when things are done more efficiently," Fenton says.

“With the data at your fingertips, you can make faster, more economic decisions,” he explains. “By definition, you are then also building in more resilience.” 

Adds Fenton: “Automation has emerged as a key theme out of the global pandemic. A lot of organizations have been talking about accelerating automation initiatives so they can truly focus on value-added activities rather than ‘bean counting’. This is especially important in this new virtual world, where automated processes are crucial to driving efficiency and enabling better control and resilience.”

KPMG Powered Enterprise | Finance can help you transform

By bringing you the benefits of the cloud, automation and access to innovations like predictive analytics and machine learning, KPMG Powered Enterprise Finance (Powered Finance) helps your business create a truly agile finance operation. It’s not only about back office transformation but delivering a strong foundation for the evolution of every function of your business.

With KPMG Powered Finance you can have access to the latest innovations, leading practice and processes, cloud technologies and a next-generation delivery framework. You’ll be able to derive more value for your data, too. KPMG can help your finance operation digitally transform to meet the demands of a post COVID-19 world.

Why do it?

A finance function transformed by Powered Finance could deliver:

  • 45 percent cut in general accounting costs
  • 15 percent improvement in working capital
  • 50 percent reduction in manual reconciliations.

Lockdown shouldn’t mean shutdown – continuing financial transformation despite lockdown

A leading US grocery chain knew it needed to digitally transform its financial organization by moving over to a cloud-based ERP solution, after finding itself overly reliant on manual processes and high numbers of staff. The company wanted to be able to better manage implementation projects, prepare for potential post-IPO audits and enhance the visibility of their overall financial state.

Having just completed the initial Vision stage, they were just entering the critical Validate stage when lockdown came. Delay to any project can be damaging, not only to team morale, but also to the business.

Fortunately, as part of the KPMG Powered Enterprise family, Powered Finance was designed from the outset to exploit cloud-based tools to manage the implementation. Coupled with an approach that incorporates leading practices for managing remotely and a KPMG project team well used to working with clients and colleagues across the world, the project was able to stay on-track.

In the words of one validation workshop attendee: “I feel it was one of the better sessions I have attended in all my years. Well done.”

An important part of the approach is how KPMG in the US used the KPMG Target Operating Model to bring a strong visualization of how processes, people, governance, service delivery models and data insights are optimized for the Oracle Cloud platform chosen by the client.

Given the circumstances around COVID-19, it would have been easy to slow down or rethink the journey. The client recognized that this would have been damaging to their transformation ambitions. They now have a mutually agreed target operating model answer and are now underway in the Construct and Test phase.

Learn more about KPMG Powered Enterprise Finance and what it can do for your business and other client digital transformation success stories.

Read more insights from the KPMG Powered Enterprise team.

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Note: Throughout this article, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International.