Most CFOs say digital technologies are increasingly important in helping them cope with the pressure they are under to support business performance and manage risk, but well over a third don't, according to research.
A report from consulting firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC), sponsored by HP, finds that while CFOs are aware of the impact of digital technologies on the finance function, some "still underestimate the wider and far-reaching implications resulting from digital transformation".
PAC interviewed 301 CFOs in medium-sized and large companies in 12 countries globally and across all industry sectors, and digital technologies are perceived by most CFOs as important enablers for the finance function to achieve its strategic objectives. Not surprisingly, said PAC, process automation has greatest value for CFOs, as it helps to improve the efficiency, speed and quality of processing tasks by reducing the amount of manual work involved in conducting day-to-day operations.
CFOs also attach a high importance to mobile technology, as anytime, anywhere access to data or financial reporting enables greater control and transparency over business performance. Similarly, analytics not only serve to gain insights on operational efficiency, but also help to mitigate business risk and to better monitor and steer business performance, PAC said.
However, 40 percent of the survey respondents only see a "minor" or "no impact" from digital technologies, which in PAC's view indicates they are underestimating the changes – and potential benefits – that are arising from "the increasing pervasiveness of digital technologies in the longer term".
Danila Meirlaen, VP of worldwide business process services at HP, said, "To achieve the full benefits of digital technology CFOs will have to collaborate not only externally, but also with other parts of the business, such as IT, sales and marketing or customer service.”