Finance teams urged to embrace change and be the leaders of transformation | NTT DATA

Wed, 17 November 2021

Finance teams urged to embrace change and be the leaders of transformation

  • ACCA, CA ANZ and Generation CFO join forces to help finance teams navigate disruption, risks and continuous change
  • Insights from NTT DATA explain that transformation is a series of strategic, incremental, changes that improve the business model.

Organisations continue to face rapid change in the face of Covid-19, climate change and technological innovations – and a new report urges the finance functions who work in these places to lead and embrace this change, or risk being left behind.

In Transformational journeys: finance and the agile organisation ACCA, CA ANZ and Generation CFO assert that the role of the finance function and its skill sets are intricately linked to organisational transformation.

But they also warn that certainty about the purpose of finance and accountancy professionals in organisations is needed to ensure their future relevance. How the finance team aligns to organisational goals is vital to ensure they continue to contribute effectively to the transformation of where they work – whether large or small.

Finance teams’ roles are becoming wider in scope, managing operational, climate and non-financial data, and delivering insights based on robust data analytics collected by efficient and effective processes. As such, they need to be at the heart of transformation as key players in an organisation’s performance and control agendas.

Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA explains: ‘Finance professionals have a clear role to play in transformation. The nature of that role is dependent on the extent to which they have a vision of how finance itself can contribute to the organisation of the future. Finance teams need to be forward thinking and agile in the face of relentless change.’

Ainslie van Onselen, chief executive, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand adds: ‘There’s no doubt that the speed of change will continue to accelerate. Being prepared for that acceleration will enable finance and accountancy professionals to play their full role in the transformation process and help secure long-term organisational success.’

Chris Argent, Founder and CEO, Generation CFO comments: ‘The advice I’d give as a one-time FD myself, is for accountants to explore how they can play a major role in the future direction and development of their organisations. This is not just about appreciating the technology enhancements that are on-going, but also understanding the cultural shifts in the ways of working that the pandemic has brought into focus.’

The report includes insights from Jason Ford, Vice President at NTT DATA UK regarding what transformation actually is – strategic, incremental, changes that improve the business model – and key trends in transformation, from understanding the risks to the rise of the ‘Cloud Native’.

Ford explains: ‘Transformation is a very broad topic. As organisations evolve to respond to the needs of their customers, we must reappraise how we assess the effectiveness of transformation. This requires collaboration between those charged with the development and delivery of services and the finance function, in order to understand the realities of the investment case and effective performance measurement. It is for this reason that organisations need to ensure agility is at the heart of their business strategy, so they can not only respond quickly and adapt to shifting customer expectations, but they do so in the most effective and efficient manner possible.’

Advice and ways to make transformation happen conclude the report, with tangible ways accountants can lead the way from engaging with the environment as a matter of urgency to looking to the purpose of businesses and the profession’s moral responsibility.

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