Recently, Oracle partnered with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to find out: How is the role of finance changing in the digital world? In what ways should the finance operating model shift to take advantage of new technologies and drive future growth?
The resulting research, Agile Finance Revealed: The New Operating Model for Modern Finance, uncovers the traits of agile finance leaders and provides insight on how to build a modern, digitally-enabled finance function.
The digital age presents opportunities and threats to everyone's business model. No organization is immune. CFOs are increasingly tasked with transforming their companies into digital businesses, but they can't lead the way forward using legacy systems, disconnected, decentralized processes, or outdated skill sets. They must understand how to take advantage of new technologies like machine learning, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics to see the future and act on it.
In short, finance leaders want to be more agile. They want to be more efficient and automated, able to shift gears based on better, more reliable information, and have more time to strategize and focus on guiding the business forward.
The AICPA/Oracle research surveyed nearly 500 senior finance executives in organizations across the USA and Canada. We found that more than 80% of respondents are implementing initiatives to support a new, more agile operating model for finance. These initiatives fall under the key headings of greater efficiency, better information, and more influence.
However, most of these initiatives are in the early stages, with a long way to go on the road to finance transformation. Only 30% of those surveyed say that their finance function is operationally agile today.
So, what did we learn about the ones who are?
Agile finance leaders typically have a number of attributes that their peers lack. They are tech-savvy, with skills in cloud computing, data analytics, shared services, and automation. They also fully understand the importance of non-financial KPIs and intangible assets for creating stakeholder and customer value.
Agile finance leaders are typically far ahead of their peers when it comes to implementing financial planning and analysis (FP&A) centers of excellence, deploying cloud services such as enterprise performance management (EPM), and introducing a raft of other innovations such as robotic process automation. Regarding future planning, leaders of an agile finance model are often rated highly effective at delivering forward-looking analysis that identifies new opportunities for revenue growth.
Agile finance leaders are far more likely than others to rate the skill level of their finance teams as “excellent.” This relative advantage is greatest when it comes to newer, less traditional finance skills like data visualization, big data expertise, and influencing skills.
In addition, agile finance leaders are more likely than others to measure intangible, non-financial KPIs like competitive intelligence (65% vs. 53% of others), brand reputation (69% vs. 59% of others), and talent analytics (81% vs. 58% of others).
Other key findings of the research:
What to see how your finance function compares? Take the interactive tour where you can take an agility self-assessment test, examine graphs and charts in detail, download the complete AICPA/Oracle research, or request a demo of Oracle ERP and EPM Cloud.