Uncertainty is the new normal. In the era of fake news and unpredictable market changes, there is however one thing you can trust and control: data. Data doesn’t lie, but it needs to be secure, for it to be harnessed by business leaders in decision making.
Finance’s job is getting bigger. With this comes greater complexity and a new level of accountability. New areas are emerging where the CFO is no longer just consulted but actually accountable, particularly when it comes to data security and compliance. And that shift means that finance leaders need to embrace a new mindset, where they actively embrace this new environment.
Finance leaders have always felt responsible for company data, but the spotlight has shifted to protecting people outside the business. Customer and employee data breaches can swing reputations and valuations overnight, making ethical data management a priority across the organisation.
According to a recent global survey, 54% of CFOs describe themselves as ‘uncommitted innovators’. Change can be scary – not least for CFOs trying to stand up an innovation investment case. Breaking down the challenges; justifying change with rigorous, data-driven insights; and targeting projects at well-articulated pain-points are all ways to get over the mental block.
Smart organisations treat the finance function as a navigator, showing where to invest, what strategies make sense and how to deliver them. But that can only happen when CFOs innovate for themselves – freeing up resources to plot new adventures for their businesses.
‘Agility’ seems to be today’s buzzword of choice – but being agile is a fundamental part of innovation. Innovative companies move and change direction at lightning speed, and they depend on having the resources they need, when they need them. In other words: innovative companies depend on a world-class, agile finance team.
The finance function is changing shape. Until quite recently, the traditional pyramid structure was entirely appropriate, but the advent of new technologies mean that organisations need to rethink their shape, quite literally.