The role of CFO in modern times includes an unexpected responsibility: being the architect of business transformation. Certainly, CFOs remain the financial stewards of their organizations. Nevertheless, they’re also poised to take the reins when it comes to driving value, improving employee engagement and, most critically, initiating digital transformation throughout and beyond the finance team.
Of course, digital transformation is already happening across countless organizations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Cases in point: In a recent survey, nearly one-third of all company leaders said they’re ready to embrace artificial intelligence, and in another about three-quarters of CFOs and financial leaders said they planned more finance-related duties to be performed off-site than before Covid-19.
In other words, a tsunami of change is happening in the finance department. However, this shift won’t be successful without carefully considering the human factor in this equation.
During Digital Transformation, Culture Matters
It’s easy to forget that digital transformation isn’t simply about increasing technological investments or switching workflows. Equally important is how changes in the way processes are carried out will impact employees.
CFOs understand this innately; it’s why 77% think a modern tech stack is appealing to top job candidates, according to the AI survey referenced above. However, tech stacks alone won’t create a healthy work-life balance for employees. Even if a company has the latest gadgetry, employees might still feel overworked and disgruntled. Consequently, CFOs who are intent on fostering digital transformation need to put measures into place to ensure that any changes are positive from a people-centric viewpoint.
Take automation, for example. One of the easiest ways to help employees shift their focus toward more empowering and strategic tasks is to reduce the need for them to perform banal procedures. This can be done by choosing, installing and implementing software and systems that reduce manual tasks. The same holds true of leveraging centralized and secure cloud-based infrastructure; remote team members can freely access information from a single source that’s unlikely to be corrupted by inefficiencies and error.
It might seem strange to think of how important a part the nondigital plays in digital transformation. Nevertheless, it’s easy to understand how much faster any workplace can ramp up productivity when employee satisfaction is high.
How to Manage the Nondigital and Cultural Aspects of a Digital Evolution
Are you ready to accelerate digital transformation across your organization? With the above in mind, consider beginning with the following nondigital steps:
- Remove tedious, time-consuming tasks from your finance team’s plate. If you want happier finance team members, take monotonous tasks off their plates and move those to an automated system. As long as the job can be done in a way that reduces risk and remains compliant, it’s fine to give it to a machine. That way, your workers can feel less stress and concentrate their efforts in higher-level areas.
- Go to the cloud for answers. As you investigate digital transformation solutions, look for ones that feature a cloud-based structure. Cloud technology eliminates the need for physical servers. At the same time, it makes retrieving real-time data effective and fast for anyone with access. Currently, many CFOs are open to their employees working out of the office at least part of the time, and they’re gearing up for that reality. If you suspect some of your team members will telecommute, you need to make it simple for them to operate from anywhere.
- Collect and analyze financial data on all digital transformation systems. How will you know the ROI of your digital transformation decisions? One way is through the collection and analysis of financial data across all your new infrastructures, portals and systems.
For example, you might end up with multiple cloud-based systems. In that case, you could partner with a company to gain insights into how much your organization is spending on and saving with those tools. Having data-backed knowledge can inform your choices and help you better utilize your digital resources. At the same time, sharing this knowledge transparently with team members allows everyone to follow best practices.
The digital transformation of finance functions is accelerating alongside the U.S. economy as we emerge from Covid-19. By embracing a more strategic approach to your department’s upcoming technology adoption, you can play a bigger role in moving your company into a competitive position. Just make sure you spend enough time caring for the nondigital aspects of digital transformation.