CFO transformation

Over the past twenty years a significant number of transformation programs have evolved that focus on systems, tools and processes in order to improve business performance. These programs were initiated to bring about long term and persistent changes.

Our research shows that various transformational levers have been intensively implemented, however, their effect on the profit margins are significantly lower than expected. Consequently, any commitment to streamline a business that does not lay adequate focus on the “human” dimension to change, will not prove to be effective.

There has been a significant transformation in various aspects relating to services= and financial management processes, to conform with new regulations which have emerged over the last decade. Some of these are in the form of: IFRS standards, laws of financial security and stronger prudential ratios resulting from the financial crisis, etc.

These developments have contributed towards promoting auditability, traceability and reliability of data for the purpose of reporting and compliance. The critical challenge for the finance function has been to move up from a role of merely managing finances to a more encompassing one. This new role takes into account strategic, executional and talent-related issues. Only in this way can the finance function be seen as a strategic rather than as a technical resource.

There has been an extensive debate over the years on the role of the finance function and its need to evolve into a more strategic conception. However this debate has generally not delved upon how the finance function should encompass, if at all, the role of human resources in organisational change and transformation.

While financial controllers still aspire to become true ‘business partners’ and operational managers, the way they operate has paradoxically made this goal rather more difficult to achieve. To play an effective role in facilitating the mobilisation of an organisation, they must be able to upgrade to a truly strategic and managerial dimension.

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