Accenture Report: The New Role of the CFO in Organisational Growth

This report has a whole range of fascinating insights. The central theme is that CFO/Finance Directors are uniquely positioned to assist organisations as ‘digital guardians’, using data to deliver growth. Our experience at Cloud Doing Good shows that growth can apply as much to growth in impact in the non-profit sector as to growth in profit in the commercial sector.

The evolution of the role of Finance reflects an increasing level of automation of the traditional role of finance in recording of transactions, which allows for a shift to being a central player in the use of data in a much broader organisational context.

In some ways, everything changes and nothing changes. 25 years ago, ‘knowledge management’ was the in-thing. And a desire to evolve from data, through information to knowledge. The terminology may have changed (nowadays using terms such as ‘AI’, ‘machine learning’, ‘Big Data’), the tools may be far more sophisticated, but the similarities are retained.

However, there is one difference now to 25 years ago. 25 years ago, there was significant IT infrastructure build and maintenance needed. The explosion of powerful cloud computing has ushered in era of ‘buy not build’, enabling organisations of all sizes to buy at costs that would have been unheard.

My personal experience 25 years ago includes in a large bank, a multi-year project with costs in the tens of millions, to open up ‘branch’ P&L reporting as a segment, in contrast to the traditional ‘product’ centric P&L reporting. Today, the same segmentation concept could be introduced to a 15 person charity in a matter of days.

In summary, the concept is a simple one: reduce the amount of time on data entry and ‘build’ of reporting to spend more time on data analysis. As Accenture sees it, that transformation allows for the CFO to play a greater role in driving organisational growth. 

Read Accenture's full report on their website here:

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