From number cruncher to strategic partner: How the role of CFO is changing

From number cruncher to strategic partner: How the role of CFO is changing

CFOs have traditionally filled the role of conduit between an organisation’s business divisions and its financial and strategic goals. But the advent of digital technology means that the role is changing. CFOs need to be more strategic and agile – and they need the right technology to do that.

As Duncan McInerney, Business and Analytics Manager for Finance for Auto & General, explains:

“Finance has historically focused on P+L type scenarios, not correlating financial and operational data. But now the role of finance is becoming that of a business partner, helping the operational teams to tell their story.”

Ask yourself:

Can your CFO run analysis based on speculative decisions?

Can they provide accurate historical data at the drop of a hat?

Are they supplying you with insights to drive strategic direction?


Then, you need to talk to your CFO about modernising your finance function.

With the right tools, your CFO can provide invaluable insights and work with you, and your board, to analyse what that data means.

Modernisation is not ‘one-size-fits-all’

Financial modernisation is top of mind for many organisations now. Recent research by Gartner indicates that around 72% of organisations plan to modernise their finance function by centralising analytics by 2020.

At Bistech, we’ve helped many organisations do this already. All have had different reasons for wanting to make the change, such as:

Tasks and processes taking too long

Manual file updates meaning updates to one, meant manual changes to all.

Growth outstripping capability

Having to update reporting every time there was a change or restructure in the organisation.

Mistakes and inaccuracies

Multiple data points leading to conflicting data, making it impossible to know what was accurate.

System failures

Ageing systems not coping with increased levels of data, and constant failures significantly impacting productivity.

While it’s vital organisations modernise, it’s equally vital they don’t just rush a fix. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want to solve, before investing in a solution.

Because financial modernisation isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Why going it alone doesn’t work

Without the right technology and implementation partner, the transformation of your finance function could struggle to succeed.

There’s lots to be learnt from ALS’s experience.

Greg Affleck, Group Financial Controller, Corporate, at ALS, tells the story of how they built their own bespoke solution to modernise their finance function. However, they soon discovered it didn’t meet the organisation’s complex needs.

Their solution needed ongoing maintenance, involving major cost and effort, and ALS found themselves stuck in a never-ending development cycle.

That’s when they realised they needed a more robust solution. One that didn’t need tweaking with every change in their business.

We were proud to partner with them to meet this need and you can read more about how we did that in our state of play report into financial modernisation.

A partner who can roadmap the change

There’s no denying it – financial modernisation is complex. That’s why you need an experienced partner on board. A partner who can roadmap the change and guide you through the transformational journey.

It’s vital the partner has expertise in Financial Performance Management and has a clear understanding of the finance function.

Technology partners without this knowledge simply don’t have what it takes. This knowledge means we can successfully transform your finance function as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.

Duncan McInerney explains what Auto & General looked for in an FPM partner:

“We looked for a partner who would provide great support, great training and great people. There also must be a strong element of trust. An FPM partner must understand the space.”

The right partner will help your organisation find the perfect solution for your business. Then work with you on a change management strategy to get leadership and the wider team on board. They also keep the project on track and encourage you to dedicate the necessary time to the transformation, ensuring its success.

The only certainty is change

The oft-repeated quote attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus ”the only certainty in life is change” seems particularly reflective of the rapidly changing world we’re living in.

We here at Bistech thrive on this change and on guiding organisations to benefit from its positive possibilities.

Our state of play report into financial modernisation outlines some of the many success stories of organisations we’ve helped transform.

If your organisation is struggling with archaic financial systems and the resulting errors, increased costs and inefficient processes, then you and your board need to act now.

Connect with us to get a Headstart – our fully-customisable solution to deliver your modernised, automated finance function as quickly as possible.