The evolution of the finance function

Finance as a function is moving beyond its traditional role to be a dynamic driver of business

Xiomara Sanchez, Consulting Partner, Dynamic Finance lead, Deloitte Ireland

The success of a finance function lies in building a resilient, integrated team that adapts quickly to change. The team will have to navigate business disruptions such as global pandemics, geopolitical unrest, supply chain disruption, increased focus on sustainability, an ever-growing volume of regulatory requirements, and economic uncertainty. In all likelihood these challenges will occur simultaneously.

The need for the finance function of tomorrow, is here and now. At Deloitte, we are seeing many of our clients, with great success, investing in future-proofing their organisations and applying our principles to build a more dynamic finance function. This applies to businesses of all sizes — from rapidly scaling start-ups to companies taking the next leap to internationalise.

These organisations are facing unprecedented change and finance leaders are being tasked with creating and building agile and adaptable teams who can navigate both external and internal disruption. At the same time, they are expected to mitigate risks and pivot to provide new services and decision-making support across an ever-changing regulatory landscape.

Those that have done it well have successfully built resilient and integrated teams that adapt quickly to change, allowing finance to evolve from a traditional accounting role to a dynamic capability.

What is dynamic finance?

Dynamic finance is about agility, flexibility, and adaptability: it is moving finance out of the traditional core role of stewards and guardians of the numbers to be a strategic partner that can drive increased value to business decisions and insights.

There are three key ingredients to creating a dynamic finance team:

* A dynamic finance mindset centred on agility and adaptability

* Equipping your team with the right digital eco-system from core technology to best in class digital platforms

* The right skillsets within the finance function coupling finance expertise and tech fluency

What dynamic finance looks like

A dynamic finance function leverages innovation and technology to expand the capabilities of their teams. It shifts the focus to valuable, impactful work leveraging data to drive business insights and influence business decisions. It ultimately allows businesses to interpret and respond to both opportunities and threats more quickly.

Finance teams should be well versed in how data is structured, created, maintained, secured, and consumed, allowing the organisation to be more responsive and flexible with analysis.

Effective and efficient use of time and skillsets through simplified and standardised processes should be integral to the function. This reduces the manual effort by leveraging your organisation’s technology to automate manual and tedious tasks, creating capacity for your workforce to focus on problem solving, insights and decision making.

A tech-savvy workforce grounded in the core finance competencies, will ensure your employees use the technology platforms to their full potential and shift their focus towards scenario modelling, trend analysis and analytical thinking.

Where to start

Finance functions need to embrace the dynamic finance mindset to keep at pace with the organisation, attract the right talent, and make an impact as data-driven insight leaders.

Getting started is simple, consider the following questions:

* How does your finance team adjust to business disruption?

* Are you agile and adaptable for the next potential internal or external shock?

* Are you leveraging your technology to deliver against your goals and ambition?

Are you investing in the skillsets and capabilities of your team?

* Have you considered what you may need to future proof the finance organisation?

Xiomara Sanchez is a consulting partner and the Dynamic Finance lead at Deloitte Ireland