Jamie Lyon introduces the digital CFO series

Digital is reshaping the global economy and changing the face of today’s workplace. Make no mistake it’s a brilliant opportunity for CFOs if they can
take it.

Digital CFO series

In this series of articles, which will be released on a quarterly basis, PwC and ACCA, working with leading CFOs and C Suite executives identify the key opportunity areas for finance leaders as they transform their finance organisations in the face of massive digital change impacting businesses.

"The digital environment presents great opportunities for the CFO function. With the explosion of organisation data finance leaders are uniquely placed to drive superior enterprise insights. In a time of significant digital transformation and change, the business will also look to the finance team for brilliant stewardship and governance. For CFOs the adoption of break-through technologies will be key to seizing the opportunity, but the ascent of digital also has major implications for finance talent too. All of these issues will be explored in the series."

Jamie Lyon, head of corporate sector, ACCA

"Working with clients around the world we see the significant impact digital is having on different businesses. But it is the speed of change which is more dramatic. With more risk, but also greater commercial opportunity finance has a critical role to play to help the business adapt in this new environment, ensuring it becomes more efficient, agile and competitive. This series will bring to life the challenges, issues and opportunities CFOs are facing, share best practices, key insights and guidance on how finance can embrace the change and thrive on the opportunity."

          Brian Furness, consulting finance lead, PwC

"The balance of responsibilities of future finance functions will look different from today. CFO’s will need to drive a new culture in the finance team, and a new mind-set and can do attitude to take advantage of the opportunities that digital will present. Digital will require a total focus from the finance team on what the business needs are, ensuring its holds the business to account for its performance.  The message from this series is loud and clear for CFOs and for finance professionals– make the most of the opportunity."

Jens Madrian, CFO/CCO, Reactive Technologies

Article one: The ascent of digital

Digital disruption and sweeping changes challenge finance functions as we know them today. Digital is also presenting unprecedented opportunity for CFOs. 

  • How can finance take the opportunity and transform what it does to better support the business? 
  • How can it change its ways of working, what is the role of technology in this brave new world?
  • What is the implication for skills and talent in finance? 

    Read article one: The ascent of digital

Article two: Delivering profitable growth – the role of finance

Many organisations are emerging from a phase of cost cutting to one where aligning costs with core capabilities for profitable growth is essential.  So what are the implications for finance in this digitalised world?  In this article we look at: 

  • Why it is important to align your cost base and processes to your strategic goals 
  • The need to prioritise investments that deliver value and are on strategy
  • How exploiting analytics can be used to improve decision making
  • The imperative of aligning your performance metrics and reporting to drive behaviours 
  • The implication of the need to invest in the people and tools necessary to deliver your strategy

    Read article two:  Delivering profitable growth - the role of finance

Article three: Integrating an acquisition - the role of a modern day finance function

Digitalisation is changing the competitive landscape and is reshaping business models in every industry. This challenges the drivers for transactions. Yet research shows that too many mergers and acquisitions fail to realise the value expectations established for them.  In this article we look at the following key actions for the CFO in the light of these digital trends: 

  • Driving a consensus and accountability around the deal
  • Implementing a clear and robust finance operation immediately post acquisition
  • Optimising the delivery of value in Finance
  • Capturing and reporting the deal value

Read article three: The role of the modern day finance function in integrating an acquisition

Article four: Taking advantage of risk and regulatory complexity

In today's fast-changing business and regulatory environment, it's all too easy to focus on compliance and managing downside risks. But disruption, risk and volatility also bring opportunity. By aligning enterprise performance and risk management, CFOs have an opportunity to reappraise the risk agenda and the role that they can play in shaping it; making risk and regulatory compliance a commercial advantage rather than just a compliance driven activity.

In this article we recommend that across the breadth of the risk and regulatory agenda within their organisations, CFOs and their finance teams need to

  • recognise the benefits of becoming involved in the management of complex, strategic risks across the organisation – and not limit themselves to managing only financial reporting risk;
  • work collaboratively with others across the organisation to understand and manage risk (for example, with strategy teams, operations and customer-centric teams);
  • drive the use of data and analytics to assist in identifying and managing risks across the organisation, embracing new tools and technologies to do so; and 
  • assess risks to both manage potential downside impacts and identify and capitalise on opportunities to drive commercial advantage for the organisation.

Read article four: Taking advantage of risk and regulatory complexity