Finance 2025 – Irish Insight
David Brady, from Deloitte’s Finance Transformation team, shares his views of the Finance 2025 predictions for Ireland
I have to admit the first time I read the predictions I thought that the timeline of 2025 was too soon. However, as I contemplated the five predictions in more depth and started to put together the pieces of what was required I actually realised that we are already seeing some of our client’s trial and use them in production. Admittedly, some of these are on a small scale, but it made me realise that the ingredients and the appetite for the predictions in the article are here, now.
The five predictions outlined in the April CFO Insights are:
- The Finance Factory: end-to-end automation will remove manual processes and rework within finance will disappear.
- The Role of Finance: the focus will change to supplying business insights and helping provide differentiated service to customers by serving as catalysts and strategists.
- Finance Cycles: periodic reporting will be replaced by technology and this transformation will require the function to change its talent mix.
- Self-Service: Digital assistances, chatbots and other digital tools will make self-service the way of the future in finance.
- Finance Operation Model: Finance will see an increased level of human/machine interaction resulting in new service-delivery models with an increasing need for more project-based, cross-functional workforce.
Due to the uncertainty around Brexit many Irish firms, and European firms, have been delaying investment decisions, especially when it comes to back office. In our most recent CFO survey, less than 50% of respondents in Ireland felt they were adequately set up for digital transformation. As the pace of technology release is increasing, this uncertainty and hesitation has put some companies somewhat on the back foot. However, the “do nothing” business case is no longer enough to maintain the status quo especially if your competitors are investing in digital.
The changing role of finance
The predictions outlined in our global April CFO Insights article, present an interesting shift in the role of finance and depending on your strategy, could go one of two ways. Small, lean, touchless or a value-add, strategic driver of your finance department. Neither way is better than the other, it just depends on the nature of your business and your strategy, which is fundamental to get in place before embarking on your journey. Otherwise decisions will be made which might not be aligned and technology will be put together fragmentary. Such disjointed approaches have led to many of the legacy data and system challenges that many companies still face today.
Either way there will be a changing skill and mind set required.
The test of talent
As of March 2019, Ireland announced an 11-year low unemployment rate and this trend is also being seen globally. This is resulting in tough competition for top talent. The skills required within the Finance Department will certainly be different from those traditionally seen.
Those working in Digital Finance projects might be closer to university than they are of retirement but they are not there to replace, but rather to augment. The more mature organisations are learning how the different skill sets work together rather than in competition with one another. This is a key mindset that needs to be realised and accepted. It is the same with robotics, where machines are allowing humans to focus on more value added tasks rather than highly repetitive and menial tasks. As machines take over this, many jobs will rapidly evolve into what we call “superjobs” in our latest Global HC Trends Report which will change how organisations think about work.
Digital is not just a plug and play; these predictions have large-scale impact on the operating model of Finance. One thing that you can do right now is upskill your team. FinLearn is a great starting point, offering a curriculum specifically on how digital will impact the Finance department.
Questions to consider
After reading the article, I would suggest having a think about how well set up your organisation is for the changes ahead. Will the “Do Nothing” business case leave you in front of the competition by 2025? How will your company get ahead of the war on talent?
Although the predictions outlined are in 2025, they do not happen overnight. Proper and robust planning up front will ensure you get the outcomes you desire and the journey will be far smoother.
About the Author:
David is a Senior Manager within the Finance Transformation team in consulting in Ireland. He focuses on Business Finance, specifically organisational design, and has worked in a variety of sectors, more recently specialising within Life Sciences. He has run large-scale transformation projects across Europe and more recently also implementing a model across multiple regions. For more information, view David's profile.
Get in contact today
Deloitte run Digital Finance labs for clients to help them plan for the changes ahead. The Finance Labs help CFOs and other Finance executives achieve three critical tasks: Explore. Prioritise. Mobilise. To find out more about the lab, please contact me on email@example.com