Six hypotheses driving the future of finance

This report, which is based upon a series of interactive workshops with leading finance professionals, interviews and survey responses, considers several the common views of the key attributes of the finance function of tomorrow and explains how these might be addressed by forward-thinking finance teams. Many of the suggestions come from those who have embraced the change so far. Above all it is a story of relevance and organisational success.

The research is based around six hypotheses that were defined on the basis of conversations with ACCA members and PwC clients.  These represented differing views on the future finance function.

Chart representing the views of those who responded to ACCA survey exploring six themes summarising key trends in finance. The most likely evolution of finance is about real-time decision making, followed by open, trusted data, focus on generating insights, changing roles and careers, virtual finance function and lastely, disappearance of the CFO role as we know it.

Dimensions underlying the evolution of finance

The opportunity for the finance function of the future is borne upon the need to consider how it manages a number of dimensions.

The ability to serve the organisation’s purpose in the functions that it performs is fundamental to the future success of finance. To achieve this the finance function needs to consider each of these dimensions in isolation, but more importantly together. Our panel of experts in the report consider these areas and offer specific insights.

The evolution of finance is driven by data, technology, processes, people, and most importantly purpose and the culture of the finance organisation.

A threat and an opportunity

This level of change can be viewed as both a threat and an opportunity. Perhaps the greatest threat to the finance professional is that unless you actively grasp the opportunities to do things differently, you will have very little influence on defining the direction of the finance function and your role within it.

Centered around purpose, the journey must involved a bottom line of enablers including skills and resources, technology and data; and an evolving organisational design based around centres of expertise, strategic partnering and stewardship and control.