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How do CFO’s ensure the success of Finance Transformation

How do CFO’s ensure the success of Finance Transformation

November 14, 2017 by Ali El Droubi

It is fair to say that CFOs and finance organisations have in the past been focused on helping to steer their organisation through a turbulent business environment. Often there is little time to focus on their own performance and development.
 

Besides the pressure to continually evolve and add value (external/internal forces), CFOs are required to become the catalyst for change in order to evolve and make the changes required to people, process and technology within the business to ensure they are the value providers. The question is how do CFOs ensure a successful finance transformation initiative that will transform the finance function from the traditional scorekeeping to true value providers?
 

There is plenty of research and case studies available out there by many respected organisations on what to do and what not to do as far as transformation is concerned. For me the answer to the above question is to learn from others who have succeeded and failed – here are seven basic golden rules that will ensure success and the realisation of the full benefits from finance and general business transformation programs.

 

Successful business transformation is directly attributed to planning, project management and resourcing with appropriate specialists to take the program through the necessary phases to the finish line.​

​Seven golden rules for successful finance transformation

  1.  Build a strong vision that connects with people in a way where it is reflected in their everyday work, a vision that can easily be worked towards.
     
  2.  Finance transformation initiative needs to align both with the overall strategy of the business and the expectations of your key stakeholders. Being aligned with the overall business strategy and having the support of the executive team is fundamental to the success of the program
     
  3. Having a strong change management focus is highlighted a number of times as crucial to a successful transformation. The importance comes from the impact these programs have on finance and the wider business.
     
  4. Being clear about the future operating model and seeing how all the pieces are going to come together is crucial to the success of a finance transformation.
     
  5. Having the right people in place is critical (successful change doesn’t happen without great people) and that includes people working directly on the project and those in the leadership team.
     
  6. Ensure finance initiatives are broken up into phases, with the first of these getting the foundation set up right. This means looking at data, technology, process and people, and identifying what needed to be worked on first.
     
  7. Ensuring continuous measurement of the project with appropriate KPIs to ensure benchmarks are me
     

Successful business transformation is directly attributed to planning, project management and resourcing with appropriate specialists to take the program through the necessary phases to the finish line.

Where do you start?

CFOs who are thinking of finance transformation might wonder, “where do I start?” 
 

Step 1: vision  

  • Start with a vision.
  • Where do you want finance to be in the next 3-5 years?
  • What do you want finance to deliver?
  • How do you want finance to work with the rest of the business?
  • What are the gaps between the current and future state?

Step 2: business architecture

  • Take that vision and consider what it means in terms of operational finance, business finance, strategic finance, organisation and people, information and systems, policies and processes.
  • Here too, look at the current state and consider what needs to happen to reach the future state.

 

Step 3: planning

  • Create a blueprint.
  • Now, identify the investments you’ll need to make to bring about the future state.
  • Think about the policies and processes that need to change, the organisational structures that need to be created or taken apart.
  • Consider your talent mix to ensure you have the right people and development plan to help them fulfill finance’s new role.

 


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