Market Trends & Outlook

Challenges for CFOs in Digital World (ETCFO)

The digital transformation is changing the way CFOs operate with many organizations bracing for a more digitally-focused finance functioning. As businesses turn increasingly digital, the finance departments of companies will be forced to become extremely tech savvy. According to a Grant Thornton survey on 378 senior finance executives, nearly 95% respondents indicated that the finance functions of the future would demand increased levels of technological expertise.

According to the survey by Grant Thornton in 2019, titled ‘All systems go: CFOs lead the way to a digital world’, almost half of the respondents feel that technology has impacted almost 49% of overall management strategies and 48% of decision making processes.

As a result, finance heads are recognizing that they must acquire the expertise to use technology for high-value strategic purposes such as advanced analytics.

Furthermore, over the next year, technology would increase its presence in key strategic functions. Areas such as financial planning and analysis will see a 30% rise in use of technology, finance reporting and control will have 28% spurt, and treasury and working capital management will see a 29% rise in technology use.

Chris Stephenson, Principal, Business Consulting, Grant Thornton says in the report, “There has to be more experimentation with this technology, a willingness to fail at times. That will require a new approach to risk taking for CFOs.”

The other challenge for CFOs is to create a data-centric approach. As per the report, CFOs are well positioned to tackle the future data needs required for implementation of advanced technologies.

“It will also require a new way of thinking about metrics and scorecards,” states Stephenson in the report.

In the last two years, this data-centric approach has led the finance function to spend their time and resources on non-financial reporting like sustainability, diversity, environmental, social, governance. As per the survey, 33% respondents allocate 10−25%. of their time and resources on non financials For nearly 25% it has increased by 25%–50%. And for almost 13% respondents their time and resource allocation has increased to 50-100%.

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1 April 2019


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