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Digital deliverables: value, people, efficiency and rapid response to change

2022 Central Europe CFO Survey

Today, digital transformation is much more than just a technology strategy: it is a business strategy that is fast becoming increasingly essential for long-term success.

Today, digital transformation is much more than just a technology strategy: it is a business strategy that is fast becoming increasingly essential for long-term success. As a result, failure to take the next steps on the way to digital transformation may cause companies to become less competitive, lose market share and eventually become irrelevant.

The CFO often has a critical role to play in digital transformation, providing a bridge between technology and strategy leaders to ensure the most effective allocation of investments and capital. This does not just mean ensuring finance functions have the right levels of automation in place to manage their costs more effectively. It also means investing enterprise-wide in the key cloud, Robotic Process Automation, data analytics and Artificial Intelligence solutions that convert data into valuable information to enable the business to make decisions fast and accurately.

Transformation on this scale is complex and demanding, throwing up challenges and often enforcing the adoption of new skillsets that enable CFOs to play a more creative and strategic role in their businesses.

This is the context within which we have published this supplement to this year’s Deloitte Central Europe (CE) CFO Report. We believe that this, alongside the main report and the sister supplement on responding to climate change, presents a more complete picture than ever before of the realities and challenges facing close to 600 CFOs every day across 15 CE countries.

Finance transformation: what it really means

With many businesses undergoing rapid change, executives are looking to finance and enabling technology to help deliver business insights, automate decision support and drive advanced capabilities. Taking into account that automation can significantly improve managing costs, giving finance organisations the opportunity to re-evaluate how they’re organised, it is no surprise to learn that 44% of CFOs across the region see digital transformation as synonymous with automation.


Transforming the finance function: the reasons why

Because digital transformation is critical to long-term business success, it is becoming a fundamental part of business strategy as opposed to a technology strategy. A third of respondents confirmed that strategy is the main reason for implementing digital transformation in their finance organisation. Saving money (21%) and decreasing the percentage of error (20%) are seen as moderately important.


A bright outlook for progressive change

A successful transformation requires organizational focus, a skilled workforce and a long-term commitment to implementation. The survey findings reveal that while 46% of CFOs are currently implementing changes in their organisations and 19% are still in the planning phase, almost the same proportion (20%) have already implemented changes.


The biggest benefits of digital transformation

In recent years, the CFO’s role has been transforming from that of accountant to become a strategic advisor. For 40% of the CFOs we surveyed, time reductions are the most important benefit to their organisations of the digital transformation of the finance function.


Transformation: the key areas of impact

The accounting area has moved far beyond mere bookkeeping and payroll for forward-thinking businesses, and is taking on an increasingly strategic role. While many believe that accounting has a gloomy future in the digital world, technologies such as cloud-based data management, process automation and advanced analytics will in fact empower accounting processes. When asked about the areas most affected by digital transformation, 30% of CFOs place accounting at the top of the list, followed by planning and analysis (25%), controlling (23%) and reporting (18%).


Responding to change in the organisation’s talent model

Technology delivers the promise of new capabilities, requiring finance teams to upskill as the automation of finance processes changes jobs across the finance function. Around half (51%) of the CFOs we surveyed reported that in the next six months their organisations will invest in reskilling or training their teams to align their skillsets with the need to implement new technologies.

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