Success increasingly depends upon embracing digital technologies. The power and flexibility of the cloud, mobile devices, social media and data analytics provides the ability to adapt to a rapid pace of change and greater business complexity.

Within the finance function, digital technologies can help automate processes, integrate disparate systems and adopt shared service models to drive synergies and reduce costs. However the impact goes well beyond purely operational efficiencies. Digital transformation helps organisations address other key priorities, such as customer experience, talent management, innovation, collaboration and productivity, utilising real-time data for better decision-making. This all contributes to achieving better financial performance.

Finance leaders are well positioned to spearhead the investment in the new technologies, to support and enable the digital transformation process that will unlock productivity gains, increased profitability and competitive advantage. So as traditional finance functions of control, compliance and reporting become more automated, the focus turns to redesigning finance operations in order to capitalise on the opportunities that stem from a digitally-enabled organisation.

Greater focus can be put on strategic planning, using predictive analytics for business insight, creating value and managing risk. Other priorities now coming more to the fore include: dealing with data governance and cybersecurity issues; establishing digital KPIs; cross-functional collaboration; and recognising the new skills that will be needed for a more strategically orientated finance function.

So the impact of digital transformation on the finance function is profound. The need for finance leaders to keep abreast of technology innovations, hone their skills and network with others who face similar opportunities and challenges, becomes more important than ever.

The Finance Leadership Exchange aims to support those involved in transforming their organisations’ finance or shared service function, via a series of breakfast briefings, workshops and networking events. These events offer valuable opportunities to hear from leaders in the field, share best practice with peers and benefit from the hard-won experience of others.