– the future
During the past 18 months, the work undertaken by accounting and finance professionals has taken on greater significance in most organisations. Never has there been such a need for finance teams to demonstrate a deep understanding of the organisations they work within.
Succeeding in challenging times
In the joint research conducted by ACCA and PwC the extent of change that teams have embraced in the past 18 months has become clearer. The phrase ‘five years in five months’ has been used across a range of activities in an organisation. It stresses the agility and extent of collaboration that have been required.
For finance teams this has meant addressing four key areas:
Yet only 34% of the respondents to an ACCA and PwC survey felt that the enhanced role that finance teams have played during the pandemic would last. Whilst the seat at the table has been hard won, maintaining it may be proving to be a more challenging opportunity. An opportunity worth seizing, however.
"Most finance teams have seen increased workloads during the past 18 months. Many have played vital roles in their organisation’s success. Many have overcome challenges. At the heart of their stories, however, is the relevance of data and technology, the skills to analyse the data and inform the conversations and collaborate in a more broadly across the organisation. "
The opportunity for finance functions
Finance functions have an opportunity to develop a more strategic role across the organisation if they capitalise upon these recent successes. Their informed analyses are valued. Increasingly finance teams have a broad purview of the organisation.
In ensuring future success there are eight key areas to address:
Each of these is explored in the report with observations and recommendations to consider.
Fundamentally, as has been explored in ACCA and PwC’s previous reports Finance – a journey to the future and Finance Insights – Reimagined the role of the function is broadening. As the agenda moves forward so the importance of the human and natural capitals will increasingly come to the fore.
Finance teams increasingly look to both financial and non-financial information in both their external and internal reporting. The importance of these aspects can be built upon through the acceleration of the four factors of relevance, data and technology, skills and collaboration.
There is an opportunity for finance teams to play a more strategic role in their organisations. The pandemic has demonstrated the relevance. Seizing the opportunity is constrained only by belief.
– the future
Six recommendations for finance teams
1. Redefine the focus of finance to include broader performance metrics for natural and human capital.
2. Invest in technologies that can be used to create and support an enterprise-wide data model.
3. Use predictive analytics based upon this model to drive more holistic business decision making.
4. Enhance business partnering and analytical skills to ensure that finance can fulfil this new role across the organisation and continue to improve collaboration both across it and with external parties.
5. Drive for greater efficiency, productivity and standardisation across processes and common platforms.
6. Through these actions, establish finance as the central point within the organisation for achieving sustainable and responsible growth and enhancing the reputation of the organisation.