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Digital is making severe demands on the finance models. At the same time digital is making the opportunities greater and more obtainable. 

Scorekeeper/diligent caretaker

Many accounting skills will be replaced by technology-enabled processes and robots. When that happens will accountants have any role to play in the finance process? Or will they just need to audit the systems.

Communicator/business partner

Digital should enable finance to shift up the value chain to win the role of trusted business partner. Unleashed from the shackles of score keeper and caretaker processes, finance has the opportunity to reach the long sought after goal of providing practical business insight. That role would influence revenue growth and increase in stakeholder value.

Delivering value

The digital age isn’t entirely rewriting what finance does in the enterprise but it is changing where and how finance can deliver most value.

The digital economy threatens established business models yet opens up new ways of creating value.

A successful CFO in the digital economy will respond to the changing commercial priorities of a business in a complex environment and where the competitive environment is unclear.

Diagram showing the 4-box finance model. Diagram showing the 4-box finance model.

Careers and talents

The emergence of digital has implications for finance roles, careers and talent.

Finance functions will be freed up by the adoption of transformative finance delivery models.  Instead the finance function can look to become business partners.

The CFO mindset

The CFO will need a new mind-set and language to cope with the digital economy and lead transformational change.

CFOs will:

  • reserve to themselves judgement on data warehousing, cyber security and data insight
  • additional capabilities and expertise to ensure the opportunities presented by digital are not missed
  • maintain the role of diligent caretaker to protect the business
  • add value through adopting the role of business partner
  • work closely with board colleagues to influence decisions
  • and hold the business to account over performance.

About Jamie Lyon, lead author, ACCA

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