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The Role of the CFO in Finance Transformation

Accelytics’ leadership, including CEO, Ash Jain, VP of Finance Practice, Mike Newberry, and Director, Steven Gnatovich, host a virtual roundtable to discuss current financial topics and challenges in the market. In this discussion, our financial experts weigh-in on the evolving role of CFO, digital finance transformation and the struggles the chief financial officer must overcome to be successful in today's world. 


Listen to the interview here:



The Evolving Role of the CFO

In a fast-moving, digital world, the role of the CFO has been continuously evolving, mainly from the perception of back office closing the books and giving reports, to becoming a real business partner delivering insights and decision support. 

With this expectation, the office of the CFO is now tasked with leveraging data for the enterprise to drive value and empower the business with real time insights.

The most common statement you can hear now is; “My leadership is blind-running the business. We report after the fact, but we don’t have a way to run the business”.

With digital transformations giving business the ability to optimize business processes, the role of the CFO, as an objective organization within the enterprise, is often tasked with either leading the charge or being heavily involved. CFO’s must keep up with current technologies and be familiar with new tools to drive an effective strategy and vision for the enterprise.


Leading the Organization

The effectiveness of the CFO and digital transformation will depend on which type of organization they are a part of and how they select tools based on their objectives, goals and current state.

There are two types of organizations:

1. Organizations that has transparent and open goals that leads the rest of the team to support the evolving technologies and stay in alignment with companies goals.  

2. Organizations that are stuck in the back office closing the books and not implementing technologies or solutions.

In the first case, the process of technology evolution is adopted easier as the team is open for new solutions, however, the CFO will encounter problems with the second type of organization.


Understanding Where Your Organization Is

When it comes to transformation for the old fashioned CFOs, it is important to recognize where the organization is at, take a step back and analyze what has to be clarified. 

For many finance teams, the challenge is to get out of the weeds, understand where they are at and where they want to go. For some, it would be rewarding to automate a task, but when processes are siloed, it can be hard to establish a vision and determine steps needed to undergo a transformation that is expected.


System Challenges 

Another challenge finance teams are facing is the system needs themselves. Oftentimes, finance teams are frustrated with the amount of time needed to maintain the system or the IT involvement necessary. 

With things moving so fast in the digital age, that depending on what system you're using, there are plenty of events that occur, which can disorient the whole finance organization. What we often see is that IT gets affected by that disorder and they have to change everything in the system. What eventually happens is, the finance team can't do their job on a current system, so they come back to Excel, where they feel comfortable, to keep the lights on, report the business, and do what they can to keep on track.


A Successful CFO

A successful CFO must be adapting to the current changes in technology and the marketplace to adopt systems that empower the current organization to deliver meaningful insights and drive key decisions. The CFO is no longer just a counter and report generator, but a key business partner delivering data-driven insights and contributing to the overall business strategy.


Looking to transform your finance organization? Contact Ash Jain at ajain@accelytics.com to discuss your digital finance transformation goals!

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