Finance as a business partner
Digital transformation requires areas of the business, such as Finance and IT, to work in lockstep. Each of these functions has to be aligned to the business, and the goals fully understood, so that departments don’t just focus on their own agendas. Finance is best placed to do this as it has the relationships within the business and every budget holder wants its support. If you're trying to create this digital finance function and trying to set an agenda for it, you already have the relationships in your business partnering team.
Challenges to change
A key challenge to transformation is bringing traditional and digital functions together. The focus needs to be on understanding this change, so that strategies and business priorities are clear and accurate. For example, a traditional hierarchical approach with the CFO at the top doesn’t work in an agile digital finance team, so cross-functional discussions to work on the priorities of the business is a must.
People don't change overnight, but a new agile mindset is needed, and they need to understand the opportunities provided by new technology. The reasons why projects fail is often nothing to do with the technology; it’s the lack of adoption or lack of understanding that is often the problem, so communicating the value available from automating POs, for example, is key. Focus should also be on people’s skillsets. In order to automate and bring in digital finance, there'll be a talent shift, and helping people up-skill will be a huge step towards project success.
Strategy is a must, but culture also plays a huge role. Ben Horowitz, a successful investor in some of the biggest companies the world, such as Pinterest and Slack, focusses on culture because he knows that even in such hyper-tech companies, the difference between success and failure is the culture. Leadership needs to set the tone, the ways of working, how things are done, and communicate that regularly alongside the strategy, so that people will make the change.
In summary, it's not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it's the most responsive to change. If you can adapt, if you can bring in managed learning over time, if you can get your teams on board, your digital finance journey will succeed.
Proactis can help you achieve your compliance, visibility and efficiency goals through digital Finance Transformation.