Thinking Strategically About Finance Transformation

Finance Transformation should be thought of as a strategy. I get the impression, though, that we don’t think of Finance Transformation like that. We tend to think that the business has a strategy, and functions like Finance just do “transformation” programmes. And this is a general theme I’m building up in framing the presentation I’ll…

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Please can we stop saying that the future of Finance is all about RPA and AI! It’s not!

So much ink has been spilled about the impact of technology and automation in Finance – RPA and AI and the like – that it’s starting to get a bit tedious. From reading all this stuff, anyone would think that there’s a robot army lining up to make us all redundant! And it’s written as…

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Why the “Future CFO” Should Spend Less Time Business Partnering, Not More

"future CFO" should be primarily a leader

The title of this article may sound strange in an age where Finance business partnering is one of the megatrends in Finance. But bear with me. There’s a good reason why I’m going to argue that “the future CFO” should do less business partnering, and not more. I’m going to start by arguing that, contrary…

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The future CFO is now!

“The Future CFO is now!” That’s part of the title I’ve been given for my presentation at the CFO Summit in Milan on 6-7 June 2018. So, I’ve been thinking a bit about how the role of the CFO has changed over the last 30 years…. You know, ever since I qualified as an accountant…

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Humans are Better Than Robots – And That’s Why Automation Makes Sense

robotic process automation

With all the scare stories about “robots taking our jobs”, it’s easy to get the impression that we’d rather have robots doing jobs because they’re better than us. Recently, I had to do a 2-minute explanation of why Finance should pursue automation opportunities. And I was given a PowerPoint slide with 10 or so bullet…

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This one big mistake can wreck your Finance Transformation

Finance Transformation wants to add value but shouldn't do it by focusing on cost savings

Finance Transformation programmes will often include something like the following line in their business case: “Capacity created by automation and process efficiency will be reinvested in value-adding activity.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, as an aspiration, it’s got a lot going for it. The trouble is, no one…

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Why Simplification is Not Always Simple

Simple for whom?

In the generally accepted paradigm for the Finance function, where Finance is an overhead that needs to be kept down and reduced constantly, efficiency is often the name of the game. Simplification is one way of achieving that. And the ways we get efficiency are normally through simplification, standardisation and automation. Those three words were…

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Finance transformation without new software or shared services

Transform vision in Finance first

This article was inspired by a comment that Andrew Jepson made in response to Part 2 of my series on Innovation and Finance, which spoke about the attitude that Finance should have to innovation within its own function. He said (in commenting on my LinkedIn post), “Can innovation in finance be as simple as: Put…

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Innovation and Finance Part 3 – Big Software Vendors Discourage Innovation

We don't need no innovation?

Ok, so my Innovation and Finance series was supposed to have two parts. But I thought of a third, and potentially a fourth! In the previous parts, I’ve spoken about how Finance should be supportive of business innovation that benefits the customer and brings competitive advantage. And I’ve spoken about how Finance should be cautious…

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Innovation and Finance Part 2 – Another Brick in the Wall

We don't need no innovation?

This is my second article looking at the relationship of Finance with innovation. Last time I shared a few thoughts on how Finance can support strategic business innovation, which benefits customers and provides competitive advantage. This time I want to turn my attention to innovation within Finance, affecting what we do on a day to…

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