Artificial intelligence, Data Science and predictive analytics are pushing shared services, outsourcing and GBS to the next phase. Finance and accounting roles are rapidly shifting and the finance function is being disrupted. Collaboration and integration have become a necessity whilst talent and robotics present both global challenges and opportunities. To tackle these challenges, the Future of Finance and CFO Summit 2017 gathered 180 attendees and 50 speakers in London from the 14th to the 16th February. How to enhance processes in an agile way and use data to promote standardization in your structure? How higher value finance is being driven through data analytics and which benefits can you harvest? These are the themes raised during the round-tables hosted by Sidetrade.
During 3 days, the Future of Finance Summit painted a captivating picture of the future of finance function. Indeed, there is an increased drive for the function to provide insight and value through analytics and the scope of end-to-end process management is increasingly becoming globalized as robotic process automation has permeated through the industry. More than 50 interactive discussions took place to address these topics through case studies and round-tables to answer the attendee’s strategic and operational needs.
Implement successful change and support the evolution of Finance
Hosting the interactive group “Developing next level business insights thought data and analytics in finance”, Rob Harvey and Dominic Rowe, Head of Solution Consulting and Regional Sales Manager for Sidetrade in London, focused the discussion on how to get the most of Analytics and Data. The attendees had the opportunity to discuss the interest of Data and analytics to empower Finance and get a much more powerful vision of customers and business. We heard from the likes of Pfizer, Fiat Chrysler Auto, Siemens or Vodafone.
“We are willing to break down the silos with a customer-centric system on the entire customer journey” – David Pratt, Head of Finance Transformation, Vodafone
Make investment decisions based on data-driven strategy
Simplify and drive value across the order-to-cash cycle, automate and standardize processes, utilize analytics to work in collaboration with Sales, optimize the revenue cycle, and improve day-to-day tasks… All of these challenges were raised as strategic stake for Finance functions by the attendees. Most of all, access data and manage to read it is becoming critical to deep-dive to go to profiling particular accounts and get a 360 degree view of customers, in order to meet the new expectations Finance departments are facing.
“Expectations are now completely different from five years ago, digitalization was brought at a completely different level” – Patrick McHale, CFO, Taoglas
CFO becomes Data interpreter and business-partner
The change management challenge was also identified as crucial: Finance professionals are expected to facilitate the access to complex Data and ensure the reliability of the insights extracted by Data Science. The CFO will evolve to be a Data interpreter and work in collaboration with machines to become business-partner.
“Finance business is becoming more and more important: even with automation, interpreting KPIs will still require a Finance professional” – Andrea Montagano, Global Reporting Lead, Pfizer
By identifying Big Data as an opportunity to accompany the change in Finance function, CFOs will be able to find future addressable markets and look-alike customers, optimize Customer Lifetime Value, identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunity and predict when a customer disconnects. The goal: amplify accuracy and target these customers before they leave. In the past, CFOs made cash forecasts by analyzing the past. Today, using Data, they can predict the future.
“Analytics will become part of Finance; the CFO new role will be to educate the business” – Malin Olli, General Manager Business Control, Wärtsilä Corporation Oyj