A future-proof target operating model for Finance

Rapidly evolving trends in workforce, technology and markets are increasing the pressure on Finance to provide actionable insights to the business. Additionally, there is growing demand for Finance to become more adaptable and quicker to respond to internal and external requests for financial and non-financial information.

The COVID-19 crisis provided an opportunity to recalibrate ways of working and become more customer-centric while protecting and growing shareholder value.

The past year and a half have proven that remote working through virtual teams is viable with the appropriate combination of automation, cloud platforms, digital Finance solutions and expanded third party partnerships. The rise of the remote workplace makes it possible to change rapidly into a future-proof Finance organisation.

We believe a future-proof target operating model can equip Finance organisations with a flexible yet solid foundation to navigate volatility and respond to change quickly.

What does a future-proof operating model look like?

The first step is to have a clear understanding of the role of Finance. A future Finance organisation will consist of an Operational Finance team, Business Finance team and Specialised Finance team, as is the case in many organisations today, but their roles and the focus of their day-to-day activities will change.

Future-proof Finance operating models should be designed to generate business insights through the optimal use of data, allow for efficient operations and ensure access to highly specialised Finance capabilities, while recognising the need for continuous innovation.

Finance organisations often redesign their operating models by shifting existing ‘organisational chart boxes’ from one functional area to another, rather than considering which capabilities will be required for the future first and then designating where they are best positioned within the organisation.

The picture below shows the three typical capabilities and corresponding activities of a Finance organisation and where the activities are typically performed.

Deloitte’s point of view on the future Finance TOM

Organisational structures are moving towards reflecting different capabilities rather than remaining as functional silos. But the needed changes are not limited to capabilities only. The size of teams will also change. The proportion of the ‘static workforce’ dedicated to specific activities is declining and flexible teams of generalists are taking their place. These multi-disciplinary talent teams are acting as agile task forces that work on demand for specific projects (e.g., M&A activities, system implementations, ad-hoc analytics) and enable Finance to adapt more readily to internal and external volatility.

The graphic below shows how overall Finance organisations are tending to decrease in size, while new multi-disciplinary teams arise.

How do Finance organisations transform?

New Finance structures are enabled by digital advances such as data analytics and hyperautomation and are further strengthened by highly standardised ways of working.

The illustration below shows where leading Finance organisations focus their efforts and the typical transformation levers that can be applied to get there.

A holistic view to key value-adding activities

To realise the anticipated benefits, a modern Finance operating model transformation needs to consider a wide range of aspects. Deloitte’s methodology embodies those aspects through four key design elements: 1. The external perspective and future predictions; 2. a comprehensive view of the role and enablers of Finance; 3. the vision for the organisation and the service delivery model; and 4. what Finance delivers to the organisation.

Our methodology has proven to be highly effective for our clients as it provides a structured approach to orchestrate the co-creation of the future Finance operating model.

The diagram below provides a summary of how the four key operating model design elements are combined to develop the basis of a future-proof Finance operating model.

Four key ingredients to design your future Finance TOM

1. Future of Finance predictions: Our predictions imply that Finance contributes even more to the success of the company by delivering relevant insights and supporting decision-making.

2. A 360° view: When designing the future of Finance, we consider all aspects of the transformation journey, including the role of Finance, technology, talent and culture.

3. A vision of a future Finance target operating model: Our view of the future Finance target operating model incorporates a clear vision of the future to strengthen the competitive setup and deliver value.

4. Strategic priorities: Strategic priorities – both Group level and Finance-specific – will determine the design of Finance’s future operating model.

A future-proof target operating model will provide you with the essential foundation for an innovative Finance function that drives the overall performance of the enterprise. How would a future-proof target operating model for your organisation look?

*All images are illustrative

Myriam Suter

Finance Operating Model Expert
+41 58 279 9809


Jérôme Thomann

Finance Operating Model Expert
+41 58 279 9838

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