The need to 'lead at speed' is prompting many organisations to prioritise investments in technology and digital transformation.
If the last few years have shown anything, then it is the need for intelligent financial planning, forecasting and operational analytics to help businesses stay ahead of the curve. But organisations seeking to improve adaptability, re-gain control and speed up decision-making find that their FP&A teams are often hampered by complex spreadsheets, fragmented applications, manual processes and legacy systems.
Rolling forecasts, what-if modelling and data analytics on-demand are no longer a utopia, but very much a ‘needs must’ for companies wishing to become stronger and more competitive. More efficient and more effective planning cycles save time, costs and effort. This translates to increasing productivity of team members, currently diverted by menial tasks, and an ability to plan and re-forecast continuously as conditions change.
A financial planning and analysis model managed centrally by Group Finance typically lacks depth. The insights and expertise gained from knowledge workers across the business greatly increases the value of FP&A cycles. In companies that harness those insights, the Finance Team becomes a strategic business partner to other executives across the organisation.
In order to fulfil these new demands, a paradigm shift is happening on two levels:
- Adoption of cloud-enabled FP&A technology has made driver-based forecasting models accessible to managers across geographies, lines of business or corporate functions ensuring timely action is taken in collaboration with those that understand the business inclusion in the planning process improves trust and engagement between team members at all levels in the organisation, which fosters a culture of accountability for the data that informs decisions.
- Utilising an intelligent finance platform, the Finance function unifies systems of record, control and reporting with the process of financial and operational analysis, data visualisation, trending and forecasting. Its historic role focussed largely on accurate reporting of the past, is stepping into a much more proactive future that informs strategic decisions and communicates insights with internal and external stakeholders
Finance leaders now have opportunity to reflect the most current business scenarios, to model the impact of real-time events on the P&L and balance sheet, to forecast cashflows or operational performance, and to surface insights which drive better business decisions.
And with the right digital technologies and culture, your FP&A team can focus their time on value-add analysis and delivering data-driven insights to business leaders.
You can reach the next level…
We work as independent advisors and solution providers in the Finance Transformation space. With a team of consultants that comprise a mix of qualified accountants with FTSE250 industry experience, Finance professionals with ‘Big4’ management consulting backgrounds and IT experts with vendor certifications, we understand finance systems, and we’ve lived your process.
Since 2005 we have helped clients in a variety of industries successfully make the leap from legacy systems to more agile digital solutions.
With our longstanding financial systems heritage, we are well-placed to help your finance leaders navigate the challenges of transforming financial planning and analytics.
As a OneStream Platinum Partner, Concentric is proud to partner with one of the world’s leading Corporate Performance Management software vendors, offering a platform for intelligent Finance Transformation. Your finance future is in good hands, should you choose to make the first step.
Digital acceleration as the driving force for finance leadership
Since the dawn of digital, the role of CFOs has changed over time, but nothing prepared companies for the paradigm shift of these past few years. Enterprises struggling with the demands of ever more complex processes; from CPM (Corporate Performance Management) to ERP – everything seems to need an urgent upgrade to become future-ready now. This ‘upgrade’ also needs to happen in the hearts and minds of CFOs.
What does this relentless acceleration mean for Finance Leaders?
A recent CPA article clearly put the spotlight on the harsh truths’ CFOs are grappling with. Referring to a survey involving 225 global Finance leaders, the headline reads:
"Nearly Half of CFOs Have Not Completed Any Digital Transformation Initiatives."
This may come as a surprise, considering so many enterprises have undergone digital transformation in one way or another – or are in the midst of finance optimisation exercises. It also showcased that one of the biggest Finance challenges companies face, is first and foremost a cultural/people and skills issue.
“We see it every day in our discovery journeys with CFOs. Some of the greatest obstacles are not technical but are between departments and the unawareness of each other’s (business) space, such as the relationships between CFOs & CIOs.” – David Watson MD, Concentric Solutions
Other findings amongst CFOs show an equally bleak picture of ‘digital readiness’. Some of the key points of the above-mentioned survey, involving 225 global CFOs. (conducted by Workday & Longitude Research) deduced the following key benefits and pain points:
Post-pandemic, the pressure on Finance leaders to increase digital technology adoption has escalated, requiring them to blend ‘finance’ and ‘non-finance’ skills in order to drive value from systems and enable timely decisions. As a trusted business partner, the role of CFO now transcends financial reporting and controlling, with the new hybrid CFO influencing strategic direction and helping other functions chart a course for success.
These factors create expectations of competence in modern Finance Leaders that result in meaningful actions which drive change, making businesses more resilient and better able to navigate economic trends and market volatility.
Such hybrid skills will ensure that CFOs are empowered to meet the challenges of Finance Transformation such as:
- Moving away from outdated legacy systems
- Optimising finance processes and workflows
- Combating risks by improving data transparency/governance
- Evolving towards an on-demand data-centric culture
- Timely delivery of plans, forecasts, analysis
- Deepening the CFO/CIO relationship
It is all connected. Even the near future of the Office of Finance will look very different from what is today. Digital Readiness is the order of the day!
With better integration, unified platforms and the advent of intelligent automation Finance resources can allocate time to more value-added tasks ensuring better-informed business decisions. Harnessing the benefits of digital transformation requires a skills shift, a by-product of which is a shift from reactive to pro-active leadership – a giant leap indeed for traditional finance roles.
But it is not enough for cfos to charge ahead with new digital savviness. The wider Finance team requires upskilling and on-demand access to training resources ensuring the viability and maximum efficacy of new system implementations.
CFOs and finance teams need the digital tools to provide accurate insights from business data. Market volatility creates greater dependencies on active forecasting and a challenge to interpret larger, more complex data sets effectively. CFO’s need to become storytellers to bring to life the insights hidden in the numbers. The new hybrid CFO blends traditional Finance know-how, change management skills and considered adoption of technology to drive better business outcomes. It is indeed all connected.
Ready to be empowered to meet the challenges of Finance Transformation? Read our five methods for enhancing your digital maturity as a CFO.
We would be delighted if you would join us at OneStream Software’s Annual EMEA User Conference, Splash, in Berlin.
Splash is the most comprehensive event for the Office of Finance that presents a unique opportunity to gain insight into the latest trends in finance and technology through interactive sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities.
At Splash, you will learn about:
- Conquering Business Complexity
- Revolutionising Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting
- OneStream’s AI-powered Intelligent Finance Platform
- Zero-Based Budgeting
- ESG Reporting with OneStream
If you would like to join us at this event from 19-21 September, you will find us at Kiosk 15. We hope to see you there ... https://conferences.onestream.com/splash-berlin/
We are thrilled to announce an exciting development for Concentric Solutions - our head office has relocated ‘over the hill’ to a new building on the vibrant Keele University Science and Innovation Park.
This move marks a significant milestone for our company. Not only does this transition enhance our operational efficiency, enable collaboration and foster innovation, but it also aligns with our commitment to helping customers leverage advanced analytics to unlock valuable data insights and make informed decisions that drive growth and success.
Our new office in Innovation Centre 7 (IC7) boasts the latest technological advancements, enabling us to operate at the forefront of our industry. Featuring a Data Visualisation Suite, an Augmented/ Virtual Reality (AR/VR) room, a digital wall and a high-performance computing cluster, our team will be equipped with everything they need to excel.
Using the high-tech facilities, we can showcase to our customers how adopting AI solutions, predictive analytics and machine learning models for their financial forecasting can help model business outcomes, anticipate market trends and gain better business intelligence.
Enhancing team collaboration and productivity
As a growing team, we recognise the importance of collaboration in fuelling innovation and our new workspace has been designed to optimise teamwork and communication. The spacious and dynamic workspaces, dedicated meeting rooms equipped with cutting-edge technology, and open breakout areas, facilitate and encourage a free flow of new ideas among our talented team members.
We firmly believe that this collaborative setup will enhance our ability to deliver optimised financial reporting solutions and empower our customers to stay ahead of their competition.
Part of a thriving innovation ecosystem
The move puts Concentric Solutions at the heart of a vibrant innovation ecosystem. IC7 is also home to the Digital Society Institute which aims to enable scientific breakthroughs and societal transformation through responsible data science and digital technology.
Being a part of this data focused community will not only allow us to stay ahead of industry trends and developments, but also gives us the benefit of world-leading research expertise and access to a deep pool of student talent actively engaged in AI and machine learning projects.
The Concentric Solutions team from left to right: Carrie Hodgkins (Marketing Executive), David Watson (Managing Director), Lee Bown (Principal Consultant), Morgan Nock (Project Office Coordinator), Naeem Pathan (Senior Consultant), Ben Collins (Head of Support & Managed Services), Anthony Byrne (Senior Consultant), Andy Baber (Project Manager), Samuel Smith (Managed Services Analyst).
The Science and Innovation Park is a testament to Keele University's commitment to creating a greener future. By establishing our home in IC7, we align ourselves with those sustainable values and look forward to contributing to the Park's eco-friendly initiatives.
“This relocation represents an exciting chapter in our company's journey.” says David Watson, managing director of Concentric Solutions, “The new collaborative workspace will not only enhance our team's productivity and innovation, but also help to reinforce our position as a leader in business analytics and financial reporting solutions.”
“We are excited about the opportunities this move brings, enabling us to better serve our valued customers, forge meaningful partnerships, and attract exceptional talent from the student pool at Keele.”
Our new address:
Concentric Solutions UK and Ireland
Innovation Centre 7
Keele University Science & Innovation Park
While the benefits of CFO digital maturity are compelling, companies may face several challenges during their journey.
CFOs need to address these challenges proactively to ensure a successful transition to digital maturity. This requires a well-defined digital roadmap, strong leadership, effective change management, and a culture that embraces innovation.
1) Develop a Digital Transformation Roadmap
CFOs should collaborate with key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive digital transformation roadmap aligned with the company's strategic objectives. This roadmap should outline the key digital initiatives, prioritize them based on impact and feasibility, and define clear timelines and resource allocation. A well-defined roadmap provides a structured approach to guide the company's digital journey and ensures that digital initiatives are aligned with the company's overall goals.
2) Foster a Culture of Innovation
CFOs should encourage a culture of innovation within the finance function. This involves promoting experimentation, embracing new technologies, and creating forums for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. CFOs should create a safe environment where employees feel encouraged to explore new ideas and take calculated risks. By fostering innovation, CFOs can drive continuous improvement and leverage emerging digital trends to enhance finance operations and decision-making.
3) Invest in Talent Development
CFOs should invest in building digital skills within their finance teams. This includes providing training and upskilling opportunities in data analytics, automation, and emerging technologies. CFOs should also consider partnering with external experts or consulting firms to bridge any skill gaps and gain specialized expertise. By investing in talent development, CFOs can build a high-performing finance team capable of leveraging digital tools effectively and driving finance transformation.
4) Collaborate with IT and other Business Functions
CFOs should foster collaboration between the finance and IT functions to ensure the successful implementation and integration of digital initiatives. By aligning with other business functions, CFOs can leverage synergies and share best practices in digital transformation, enabling the company to derive maximum value from its digital investments. Collaboration with IT is particularly crucial to ensure the availability of robust technological infrastructure and data management capabilities
5) Continuously Monitor and Adapt
CFOs should establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track the progress and impact of digital initiatives. Regular monitoring and evaluation of digital maturity levels will help identify areas of improvement and provide insights for recalibration or adjustments in the digital transformation strategy. CFOs should foster a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability to stay ahead of evolving market trends and technology advancements.
In summary, the digital maturity of CFOs plays a pivotal role in driving finance transformation and enabling companies to thrive. Achieving digital maturity requires a comprehensive strategy starting with a willingness to cultivate personal growth, tech and soft-skills advancement, investment in technology and talent, effective change management, and a culture that embraces innovation. As companies continue to evolve in the digital age, CFOs must seize the opportunity to lead more pro-actively and become trusted advisors in shaping the company's future success.