Finance and accounting roles are rapidly evolving; the finance function is being disrupted by technological innovation. In 2017, digitalization will become a more and more strategic stake. In the survey “Chief Financial Officers – Priorities in 2017”, PwC reports that the transformation of the Finance function is becoming one of the first core issues for Chief Financial Officers (+15 points between 2014 and 2015). Today, the digital shift transcends the limits of operational businesses and brings value to support functions. In 2017, the CFO will go beyond his accounting role and will become a business-maker.
The CFO’s scope of intervention is constantly growing and moving from financial results to the global digital strategy.
According to PwC’s survey, 60% of CFOs are willing to develop their information systems in 2017 – they were 40% in 2016.
The Digital CFO
The evolution of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) went along with the CFO role evolution. Today, the CFO has to compose with new SaaS solutions, Business Intelligence, artificial intelligence or predictive analytics and take advantage of these new solutions to become a business partner for Sales and Marketing departments. The CFO has the opportunity to master data – for example, customer payment behaviors – and benchmark clients thanks to predictive analytics. He can act on sales growth and customer engagement. In 2017, the CFO will rely on data to move from analysis to anticipation.
New solutions for new functions
New digital trends as artificial intelligence are deeply transforming Finance functions, becoming a strategic asset for the company.
In the past, ERP only managed financial transactions; nowadays, predictive analytics solutions go way further. Thanks to unified databases, organizational silos are broken down. Each business can benefit from a pertinent and efficient personalized view. New user interfaces, more flexible and fast, can be personalized for each role and sector. Lastly, artificial intelligence applied to financial customer relationship management, brings Finance from reporting to predictive era.
Today, only 20% CFOs are considering the use of predictive models to process their data. However, many companies have already accomplished this conversion and are fully aware of the stakes. According to an Infosys study, conducted with 1,600 decision-makers from international groups, 75% of them think that artificial intelligence will be a decisive factor of success in their global strategy.
Artificial intelligence in Finance departments
In 2017, 76% of CFOs still believe that their team spend too much time collecting data and wish for a more fluent and automated reporting.
For 48% of them, automation technologies and robots can improve efficiency.
Artificial intelligence has the ability to confront customer behavior to the Cloud database and boost Finance information systems performance. Machine Learning algorithms are capable of learning from customer experiences to anticipate disputes or late payments. This shift if the key to digital transformation for Finance functions. It will allow to CFOs to put customer cycle at the center of corporate strategy and become a stakeholder in the implementation of new business models.