How Technology Has Changed The Role Of Chief Finance Officers Today

Today’s CFO’s role has changed by far and if you happen to ask any finance executive, gone are the days when Chief Finance Officers were involved in overseeing accounting practices. And while new sources of revenue and reducing costs remain constant, a fresh focus on exploring new opportunities for growth is emerging.

For example, 39% of IT organizations now report to the CFO, therefore a myriad of new technology purchasing decisions become part of the rewritten job description. The role of CFOs today, therefore, needs more technological sophistication. Today, the bigger part of being a finance executive majorly involves converting data into visual insights and impact. 

The explosion of big data and analytics has created a huge pool of previously unavailable resources by which business leaders can make more nuanced decisions, and it has created new possibilities for a profound impact on the business. As a finance professional, you need instant access to the insights necessary to make sound business decisions. For the enterprise, the insights will provide well-informed and streamlined corporate performance.

Tools 

For finance professionals, Excel was traditionally (and still is) the tool of choice for most day-to-day projects. But the Excel of today is much more powerful than its predecessors. Today’s Excel can take millions of rows of data and convert it into touch-enabled, interactive visual data that can be embedded in PowerPoint. 

Today’s Excel integrates with many popular business intelligence tools, like Microsoft Power BI or SAP Business Objects BI, and this integration makes it possible to uncover deeper insights. But the true power of the latest generation of these tools lies in the ability to anticipate business needs, staying ahead of costly incidents like unexpected maintenance and business downtime for customers. It is changing the way that finance professionals do their job while driving the transition from controllership to stewardship.

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“Like with all industries that exist today, challenges are inevitable and constantly present ‘bottlenecks’ for full potential output. The same can be said for the financial sector, where there are inadequate tools for anticipating expanding business complexities, processes are prone to error, threats, risks, and ever-increasing regulation. All of these are a major cause for concern,” Says Geoffrey Mathare, Finance Lead for Enterprise Business for Microsoft.

Modern finance is now able to streamline, centralize and/ or outsource otherwise manual activities through robotic process automation (bots). This provides a mechanism to significantly reduce costs and errors while improving the quality and speed of internal processes.

Organizations can use this technology and solutions like Microsofts Cortana Intelligence Suite across the organization to stay ahead of the curb internally. In terms of risk management, organizations are also able to harness the power of the cloud to create early warning systems and tools that assist in proactively manage risk.

Gathoni Kuria

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