Organisations need strong leaders; people who can steer the company through challenging times and seize opportunities when they arise. Executives should be able to look at the health of the business and forecast the future, designing the path that the company should follow and avoid taking any wrong turns.
I am talking about CFOs.
The role of the CFO is changing. Gone are the days when the masters of finance were siloed individuals just making sure the numbers were correct. The figures still need to add up, but the requirements of a CFO are so much greater today. Their consultancy on the path of the business is ever more valuable.
Market opportunities, customer sentiment, a challenging regulatory climate and economic volatility all call for CFOs to be more visible, strategic, communicative and innovative.
CFOs cannot achieve these lofty goals without data.
Today, organisations are dealing with more information than ever. New innovations across mobile, social and cloud technologies means we communicate and share more information. Transparency, insight and analysis in high-volume data is critical. Those organisations that run open, transparent financial processes will be able to use this data to unlock value in their business.
To achieve this, CFOs must run their businesses on automated accounts payable and e-invoicing systems with technology that focuses on the granular detail of the data and analysis. Without this, it’s impossible to see the latest and most critical trends and any analysis will be useless. The devil is in the detail and missing that could have hellish consequences.
When you make the hidden visible, interesting things can happen.
Sadly, not everyone embraces digital finance. A recent Basware survey showed that companies do feel that forecasting and better visibility are increasingly important. However, Excel is still being used as the main tool to do this in a surprisingly high number of businesses.
As we approach the Basware CFO Forums in Denmark and Finland, the debate around digital finance will be at heart of the events. Never before have CFOs had such an important role and opportunity to be the captains of leadership. Embracing digital finance will unlock value that will be the difference between winning and losing the battle for stability and economic progress.
Esa is featured in The Economist book by Jason Karaian: The Chief Financial Officer: What CFOs Do, the Influence They Have, and Why It Matters