The transformation of the traditional finance function

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Finance is arguably the lifeblood of an organisation and stakeholders have high expectations of the Function‘s performance. An effective Finance function, which includes all aspects of Finance, Tax, Treasury and typically, Risk Management in some cases etc., makes a positive contribution to the achievement of the organisation‘s strategic objectives and to its value creation goals. Consequently, to be successful, Finance must develop the capabilities that will allow it to fulfil its responsibilities to the organisation, meet stakeholder expectations and service its key business partnerships in this very complex and dynamic business world.

In these modern times, the needs of businesses are growing. The pace of innovation in businesses is accelerating and so must the finance function. In view of this fluid business environment that constantly demand for change, Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) can therefore plan either for change or to retire. The bedrock of an effective transformed finance function is redefining its objective. The contemporary Finance function is therefore required to fulfil four key roles within the organisation.

Steward – this is the traditional responsibility of providing control over the organisation‘s assets, ensuring it meets its compliance obligations and direct the management of risk relating to owning those assets

Operator – operations is the mesh that holds together all finance functions. It is central to everything. It involves delivering efficient Finance processes to support the production of financial information and driving the cost effectiveness agenda across the organisation. It is quite amazing that some large organizations do not have a well-documented finance or accounting processes let alone making such documentation technology driven.

Finance function as an Operator is now the target of new technologies such as blockchain, robotics and other cloud solutions. Cloud based apps and mobile devices are used to perform transactions, while highly standardized, simplified, workflow-enabled business processes handle the rest. It is also an area worth experimenting new mode of delivery such as outsourcing, which have proven to be a great cost leveller. Transactional finance are now moving to centralized based shared services “factories” which may be managed by a third party.

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