“Global leadership will be the cornerstone of the future CFO’s role.” – The Changing Role of CFO, the ACCA and IMA
Today’s business environment is rapidly changing, especially in Asia Pacific. A report by APEC Policy Support Unit revealed that Asia shows 7.3 percent improvement over the last two years. This fast-growing environment helps business open up trade and boost growth opportunities in Asia Pacific. Carlos Kuriyama, a senior analyst with the APEC and report co-author, explained “APEC region officials’ effort to raise the quality of their regulations are steadily making it cheaper and more efficient to do business in the Asia Pacific.”
Moreover, technology has also affected the growing pace of business environment across Asia. Many companies from the region are now setting the pace globally in technology-led business transformation. This, then, impacts the role of CFOs and finance leaders who through technology, have expanded possibilities of their roles, especially in more complex companies.
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Marco Maranzano, vice president at Robert Walters, New York, claimed that “good CFOs are forward thinking and handles debt and equity with long term strategies in mind.” They are decision-makers in company, along with COO and CEO. They are responsible for both staying on top of existing company finances, and directing company toward its ultimate financial goals. They are one of keys to financial success in an organization. Therefore, as finance teams, CFOs should be able to predict the future while managing their conventional workloads and obligations in achieving business growth in today’s tech driven economy.
Further, to better understand changes taking place in CFO office in Asia Pacific, Workday has published its working paper series on CFO’s role in growth economy.
Moving beyond finance
Finance function is often interconnected and expected to work seamlessly with other business function. Forecasting for the future, Workday team mentioned that finance will also increasing following the future of job. This can include budgeting for investment, managing working capital, risk management, and corporate development. Unsurprisingly, more than half respondents said that their finance team had been subjected to digital transformation initiative. CFO regarding this matter should be responsible for more than just finance such as digitalisation, IT service, procurement, human capital management, and cyber security.
Pockets of discontent
Globally, improvements in technology has put finance team at risk. In this case, finance team will need to stay on top of innovation. Otherwise, they will be left behind in archaic processes and infrastructure. According to Workday team, lack of data and insight was seen to be one of core barriers for finance teams to be more strategic. Respondents cited that a lack of up-to-date market knowledge and a lack of market benchmarking for goal setting were two biggest barriers. Less than half survey respondents were very satisfied with their current tools used to perform core accounting, real-time reporting, forecasting and budgeting, and any other related financial reporting.
Likewise, most finance professionals also lack a single source of truth for data. It is reported that majority of finance professionals said they use more than two different systems to collate their data. And almost one in five respondents rely on more than six data sources.
Besides aforementioned barriers, real-time reporting also becomes an issue for finance team. Majority said that they are sufficiently equipped to be true business partners to their CFOs, yet almost 30 percent across market o not have the necessary tools to provide real-time reporting analytics.
The answer lies in the Clouds
Majority respondents do not operate on fully cloud-based system, found the study. In fact, moving to cloud is a priority as there are many benefits of cloud-based operating systems, including: flexibility to scaling, unparalleled speed, streamlined experience, and efficiency in cost and use.
Ultimately, finance professionals will have to be at the forefront of technology and innovation. They should be able to harness real-time reporting and cloud capabilities to drive companies forward and be true business partners.
“The difference between a good CFO and a great one is the ability to analyse data and use that to project the future financial picture of the company.”– Marco Maranzano
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