The Future Of The Finance Function

The Great Contradictons Surrounding the CFOs role


"Executives want their CFO to spend more time on business strategy, and that may sound logical enough, but, at a time when Finance is under increased pressure to deliver better more strategic information back to the business, the reality is actually quite different".

Thousands of column inches are devoted daily to the changing role of the CFO. These changes have been foisted on them by rapidly changing consumer behavior, new technology-infused business models and an ever-changing competitive landscape. While many have traveled a long way on the modern finance journey, our research shows that there is a significant gap between perception and what is happening on the ground. CFOs are struggling to find an equilibrium between their traditional role as financial steward and guardian of corporate assets, and the new demands of business partnering, strategic advisor and technology in influencer.

On the one hand CFOs of the future expect to be more influential in decision-making, technology and data governance, but on the other hand around a third rely on gut feel rather than hard data. Two-thirds also admit they have not mastered the volume and variety of business data and a similar number neglect innovation on and process improvement. Disappointingly more than half of all CFOs say they don’t spend enough me on business partnering. 

And while they are keen to take on these responsibilities, they are doing it with one hand tied behind their backs. The traditional role of financial governance and risk management still demands the majority of their time, leaving these new, more valuable, duties under-served. This, despite a proliferation of finance-specific technologies designed to standardize and automate core financial processes. Indeed, the senior finance professionals who shared their views in this survey say they still spend too much time on transaction processing, management and statutory reporting. 

Download this white paper and discover the results from a recent survey undertaken by Workiva from a a sample group of CFOs. The survey's results look at:

- Data driven vs. 'Gut-feel'

- Data governance vs. Data disarray 

- Technology leader vs. Technology laggard

- Super-CFO vs. Traditionalist

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