The time is right for CFOs to lead the charge for change

By Marcelo Carvalho-Mora, Software Solutions Specialist on
A report produced last year focusing on the significant changes and trends to Public Sector finance and its affect on the function, performance and expectations of chief financial officers concluded that “a clear mandate existed for CFOs to move beyond their traditional role of information provider to become the strategist and driver of change within their organizations.” (CPA & Grant Thornton, “Transforming the Public Sector |The role of the CFO in driving change”, p.4, October 2014).

This report echoes the sentiments of many Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company customers. Global economic and political trends over this period have been in favour of ‘small government’, meaning public sector organisations are expected to do more with less. Private sector CFOs are facing similar challenges, with Gartner (2013) acknowledging that software purchases are no longer driven by IT departments. Individual business units are purchasing software based on the needs of its users. The CFO sits at the very apex of this fundamental shift, determining if the organization will be appropriately responsive, innovative, and strategic through a period of rapid change. Changes to the role and function of the public sector CFO create a complex landscape for these individuals to navigate. The need for change is evident. The next question is, “How?”

Taking a look at the key figures from the report we can see that there is an apparent and obvious solution – adopt new technologies. When asked what functional areas sit under the CFO in addition to finance, respondents ranked procurement, payroll and information technology in that order. If we isolate the first two business functions, procurement and payroll, and examine the catalysts for change in these business units we find that emerging IT solutions are drastically increasing efficiency. The market is being flooded with software solutions as organizations around the world prepare for a new wave of hyper connectivity. Cloud technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), continue to dominate discussion in 2015 and it will be the job of the CFO to equip their business units with the right tools. They need a solution that will ensure end user adoption, ease of use, and integration across systems, as well as foster innovation and influence key decisions. If the CFO gets the software solutions right they can spend less time on procurement and payroll, and more time being the strategists and change managers that the times demand.

Too much choice can sometimes feel like a prison. For the CFO, both public and private, there are an overwhelming amount of software solutions on the market and it can be difficult to decide what works best and where. Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company’s experience in this space has given us some key insights. First and foremost, the modern CFO needs to be able to empower end users to be part of the innovation process. Given that CFOs spend 46% (Ibid, p.7, 2014) of their time acting as innovators, influencing strategy and business outcomes, business intelligence is the logical solution area to which the CFO should gravitate. For example, emerging solutions like QlikView don’t just drive efficiency and innovation, but can identify areas of the business that can be improved or made more efficient. The benefit here is that the CFO can spend less time manually working reports and more time analysing the data, having a greater impact on the growth of the business.

The wider UXC Group believes that “when a new technology is in place it should enable an organisation to meet customer demands more effectively” with the added impact of “increasing customer loyalty, growing sales and lowering costs”. In this changing marketplace Oxygen, a DXC Technologies Company is uniquely positioned to continue to do what it has always done – to work strategically and methodically with partners to lead them through periods of change and innovation. Given that doing nothing is not an option, the CFO needs guidance to ensure, not just a successful implementation, but that innovation opportunities are chained to business outcomes and strategic direction.