Who knows what the roles and responsibilities of those entering the
finance profession today will look like when they are at the peak of their careers? While
it’s a safe bet that tomorrow’s finance leaders will still be applying the familiar skill
sets of today in responding to needs for sourcing capital at optimal cost, managing an
increasing barrage of compliance requirements, and providing ever more transparent
reporting and forward-looking disclosure, their responsibility for processing financial
transactions may continue to slip away as responsibility for global business services
comes within the remit of the COO. At the same time, those in finance will be expected
to have a thorough understanding of business operations, the drivers of financial
performance, and ultimately, their company’s strategy, working alongside their peers to
focus resources to those businesses that deliver sustainable returns for stakeholders.
Rather than just being the rule-makers and gatekeepers of capital expenditure, they will
also increasingly be held responsible for ensuring that major investments in technology
and wider business initiatives really do deliver business value—a trend that we already
are seeing today as the role of the CIO increasingly falls within the finance function.
The findings from this important piece of research show that this transition is already
under way, with about a third of CFOs surveyed saying their top priority is controlling
costs and improving profitability, and nearly a quarter saying it is supporting and
funding the company’s growth objectives—all ahead of compliance and other
more-traditional finance activities. But frequently, we hear that finance teams are
compromised in fully embracing their future roles because of constraints on their time
or the lack of appropriate solutions and tools to provide value-adding decision support
to their business colleagues. Finance will only break through this impasse by adopting
technologies such as cloud computing, which provides rapid and flexible access to
solutions that drive efficiency and adaptability while lowering IT costs; in-memory
computing, which gives finance and the wider business near-instant insight into their
burgeoning amounts of big data; and mobile technologies, which provide targeted
information and analysis and engage colleagues in a two-way collaboration across a
widely distributed enterprise.
All of these technologies, along with predictive analytics and risk management which
help identify likely scenarios and access how they might impact financial performance,
exist in the SAP portfolio today. Indeed, forward-thinking organizations are already
adopting these technologies to accelerate their own financial transformation, providing
capabilities and benefits that they see as differentiating competitive advantages. That
your own finance department will be transformed into a value-adding function is not
open to debate; but how quickly you get there is—and the choice is yours.
For more information, visit SAP solutions for Finance.
SHAPING THE FINANCE FUNCTION OF TOMORROW 20
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