A New Mission for Finance
Over the next 10 years, technology will do more to change the finance and accounting organization than it has over the past 50. A spate of advances in databases, data processing, analytics and tools addressing the user experience as well as the application of artificial intelligence will free up much of the time now required by unproductive manual processes. This will allow the chief financial officer and controller to refocus the mission of the department and will enable it to realize the longstanding ambition of finance transformation: becoming more of a strategic partner to the rest of the company. There are five areas most finance executives will need to address to realize this transformation.
1. Invest in People
Change management is often the most difficult aspect of a major corporate initiative. In this instance, leadership and communication from senior finance executives is essential to define and explain the changing mission. Ensuring that the staff is ready for transformation will require ongoing investment in their skills. Moreover, it is essential to instill a continuous-improvement mindset, one where “we’ve always done it this way” is no longer an acceptable rationale. Our Fast, Clean Close benchmark research reveals a correlation between a department’s ability to shorten its close and how frequently it reviews its process to identify and address issues. Two-thirds (67%) of organizations that review their process monthly are able to shorten their close, compared to 50% that review quarterly and just 26% that have no process.