Today’s CFOs are Leveraging Tech to Become Agents of Change
Technology is increasingly being led in an area of the organization that might be surprising to some: from the CFO’s office. As finance chiefs see the value that various platforms bring to their organization, they rightly identify the role of technology in driving change that will ultimately funnel value back into the business.
This technological transformation isn’t merely in terms of software or hardware, it is a fundamental shift in the way that companies approach their growth initiatives. It is critical that finance leaders understand how cloud technology and the subscription-based model that is found with most modern software platforms are shifting the cost of technology to become an operational expense instead of a capital investment. Progressive CFOs are now seeing technology in a new light — as a way to differentiate their business through operational excellence and enhanced customer experience.
San Antonio IT services professional, Jason Simons from ICS shares his insights into the changing role of the CFO and how technology helps transform his/her position.
Shifting from Tracking and Measuring to Driving Performance
CFOs have long held a role in organizational efficiency, focuses on the numbers and processes to find ways to decrease costs and improve revenue. As the new head of technology, CFOs are finding a greatly expanded toolkit that can be utilized as they build strategies for the future. Today’s CFOs are shifting from hard measurements and numbers to being exceptional general managers (27%) and creative strategists (26%), according to a recent whitepaper by the Aspen Institute. Technology is profoundly reshaping the way organizations work and relate to vendors, employees and customers and lead innovators are offered a unique opportunity to reshape the future of their organization based on this new reality. While compliance is still a large measure of the work that needs to be accomplished, finance and technology leaders are working together to define new ways to tackle this thorny challenge.
CFOs as Strategists and Digital Visionaries
In addition to finance and accounting functions, many CFOs are already involved in technology from a financial perspective which can lead to a deeper engagement with the possibilities that are offered with advances across various fronts. CFOs find themselves with oversight of business operations such as margins, pricing and budgeting, sure. These individuals are also being tapped to spread their institutional knowledge and understanding of strategy to become digital visionaries, dreaming of the potential that new technology can bring to the organization. Finance leaders are maturing into a role that helps not only optimize the current operations but also navigate a path through an uncertain future.
Managing Spending . . . and Results
In their primary role as the financial head of the organization, CFOs are accustomed to providing budgetary input and demanding results. The massive investments that are required for technological advances in AI, machine learning and IoT are forcing additional rigor by the financial departments, whose role can vary from a staunch supporter to mindful proponent. It will be challenging as time progresses to note that while some initiatives are successful, others must be abandoned in order to move the organization forward. This can be a difficult decision for leaders who have intimate knowledge of the sunk costs and the impact on the organization. CFOs are more likely to hold these initiatives accountable to ensure that the organization is keeping an open mind about the value of various technology investments.
Understanding how the organization needs to leverage various technical advances to move forward and understanding the justification of the investment at a deep level places CFOs in a unique position within the organization. This new and exciting shift from their traditional role is one that is being embraced at organizations of all sizes, as CFOs truly seek to become agents of change.