The idea that Finance should transform into an automated, digitised and value adding function has been around for years. Heck, I’ve written so many articles about it myself that it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I think this transformation SHOULD happen. However, in many finance functions, it’s NOT happening. At least not yet, successfully that is. At the centre of this non-action is the CFO. (S)he needs to start the transformation. It’s not because (s)he doesn’t know it’s a necessity for the future of Finance. It’s not because (s)he doesn’t know what the elements of a successful transformation are about. No, actually the only thing it can really be about is that (s)he hasn’t made the right plan or perhaps even the plan is there but the ability to execute it is lacking. Here the CFO’s roadmap to transforming the finance function is needed. Over the coming weeks, I’ll take you through each step of the way in a series of posts building upon my previous posts on this particular topic as well as latest trends and developments within Finance. First, let’s take a look at the roadmap.
- Fix Your Basic Finance Function
- Finance Systems For The 21st Century
- Big Data Needs Big Data Scientists
- Can Big Data Nerds Speak Business?
- How To Become Great At Business Finance
- I’m A Finance Business Partner, To Whom?
- Beyond The Final Frontier Of Finance
It starts with the basics but quickly becomes pretty advanced
You can somehow compare what you need to build your finance function with a logical test that keeps increasing in difficulty. First, you fix the basics of Finance with investments in systems as a big enabler. Then you hire some really smart people to do some really smart things with all the data housed in your new systems. Then you hire some other people (or if you’re really lucky train the really smart people) to put the really smart things into a business context. Then you institutionalise that process, call it business finance, and keep on refining the process while developing functional business finance specialists. Then. Then what actually?
Beyond the final frontier
Once you have a streamlined business finance function which sole purpose is to support the frontline add value to the business we’ve sort of come to the final frontier of Finance and the end of the roadmap. BUT. I will try in this series to take a step further into the unknown. To go where no finance professional has gone before. Obviously, I have no clue yet where that is but I hope you will help me along the way by sharing your insights into what’s beyond business finance. I’ve already written about robot accountants hence it has to be more than that. I only have one principle for Business Finance And Beyond and that is that Finance doesn’t run the business. Finance supports the business. Feel free to challenge me on that one but I really do believe that there’s no point in overstepping that boundary. Because if that’s what you want to do then what are you really doing in Finance? Then go get a job in the frontline and do business. There’s nothing wrong with that but it’s not Finance’s job to do it.
The floor is open for discussion!
I hope that we can open the discussion already now. The roadmap is obviously also the titles of each of the following posts so I welcome ideas and challenges for each and every one of them. However, what will be most interesting is, of course, what lies beyond business finance. Like, comment and share also if you think this a stupid idea or if it’s already been done and what I’m doing is only stating the obvious.