Over the coming weeks, we will engage in conversation about the role of the CFO and finance operation, including details on what it is and how to create a solid cloud strategy leveraging new approaches and technology for agility, scalability, and deeper insights in the business partnering role.

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Changing Role of Finance

The function of the CFO is transforming from oversight of compliance and reporting to a strategic role in the organization.

The move to the cloud puts the data directly under the purview of the CFO who has the broadest view of the whole enterprise. As part of this transition, in forward-looking organizations, the CFO and the finance operation are evolving from a transactional and cost efficiency focus to the role of key business partner, and steward of enterprise performance.

In 2018 CFOs will focus on key areas…

  • Shaping and driving the enterprise’s strategic vision as it relates to cloud
  • Aligning the different teams to design and implement a solid cloud strategy
  • Supporting growth through technology, innovation, and talent
  • Tightly integrating finance and HR
  • Not forgetting change management

Transitioning applications to the cloud provides the CFO with an opportunity to plan with other things in mind—e.g., up-to-the-minute data, repurposing internal resources, and more. Understanding the goals of the organization and mapping them to technology, innovations, and the flow of the business is the natural next step in the business partnering role.

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Understanding Your Cloud Strategy

Technology and change management are critical components of a successful cloud strategy.

On-premise solutions are designed with hardware costs in mind. Moving to the cloud eliminates the majority of these costs. With the CFO taking on the role of key business partner and steward of enterprise performance, IT has the opportunity to transform their role into one of more proactive support for the organization, which includes understanding what data users need and breaking down the obstacles to their getting it. To do this successfully, Finance and IT must collaborate with other parts of the business.

Many organizations do not have a solid alignment between IT, Finance, and other parts of the business. It is up to the CFO to foster alignment and collaboration between the different stakeholders in the organization so that everyone can work together to create a cloud strategy that considers the goals of the organization and supports growth through technology and innovations.

Technology plays a key role in the cloud strategy, but there is more: Change Management. The CFO must take responsibility for managing organizational change and fostering user adoption is also critical to overall success. When outlining Cloud Strategy Roadmap, the team of stakeholders have to consider the maturity of the cloud applications (some are not yet on par with their legacy counterparts) as well as the flow of the business and the time that people and processes to adapt. Regardless of the steps the organization must take to move the different applications to the cloud, the investment of time and money are worth it in the long-run.

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Looking to the future

The role of the CFO as a strategic partner to the business will evolve with the anticipated and unanticipated changes.

2018 is the year that finance leaders examine the future of finance and create a cloud strategy that reinvents the finance function and transforms the finance organization into a true partner to the business. As the year unfolds, we expect more trends to emerge. As a key business partner and steward of enterprise performance, CFO’s should look to embrace technology, seek new and innovative ways to foster agility and manage ever-increasing demand for complex layers of data. As your partner and trusted advisor, TopDown is committed to making sure your Cloud Strategy Roadmap accommodates goals of the business, people, process, and technology and is flexible enough to adjust to unexpected change. The conversation is just beginning…

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