Finance in a digital world: It’s crunch time for CFOs
A series on digital transformation in finance
Examine specific digital disruptors and their impacts in our Crunch Time report series. Whatever your interest, one thing is clear: From cloud computing and robotics to analytics, cognitive technologies, and blockchain, a new class of digital disruptors is transforming how the work of finance gets done.
Crunch Time IX: Tax in a digital world
It’s common for Finance to have a front-row seat when big new initiatives are underway, including technology spending. But far too often, Tax gets involved after the fact, when the best they can do is make the most of a tough situation. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change. The reason is simple: New data modeling tools make it possible to deliver valuable tax insights about different financial scenarios—in real time. Which means business leaders get the benefits of those insights before they have to make their decisions. But before this can happen, Tax must modernize along with the rest of the enterprise.
Crunch Time VIII: The CFO (finance executive) guide to cloud
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cloud has been written somewhere. But what CFO has time to wade through it all? This guide offers answers to frequently asked questions from CFOs regarding cloud investments, whether Finance or other functions in the enterprise are potential users. Better understand the opportunities and challenges associated with cloud. By making more effective cloud decisions, you may get a jump on competitors in terms of innovation, agility, and cost.
Crunch Time VII: Business reporting in a digital world
What will reporting look like in five years? More specifically, what will we actually see on the ground in leading finance organizations around the world? The laborious grind of management and financial reporting today won’t exist in the future. People will be insight generators, not report builders. The talent pool in Finance will expand to include business people with finance backgrounds, data scientists, and storytellers—all collectively enhancing Finance’s ability to support the strategy of the company. In addition, we see three key characteristics transforming how reporting will get done in the future. Reporting will be intelligent, interactive, and real-time.
Crunch Time VI: Algorithmic forecasting in a digital world
Traditionally, forecasting has been a mostly manual process with people gathering, compiling, and manipulating data, often within spreadsheets. There’s another way. Organisations are shifting to forecasting processes that involve people working symbiotically with data-fuelled, predictive algorithms.
Our Algorithmic Forecasting guide shares the basics of algorithmic forecasting and how it changes forecasting processes, the workforce, and decision making. Find out how organisations are using algorithmic forecasting to create more accurate and timely predictions — and the lessons they learned along the way.
Crunch Time V: Finance 2025
Finance 2025 offers eight bold predictions about how finance organisations might evolve over the next several years, becoming better, faster, and probably less expensive. The technologies needed to reimagine finance are here and they will only get better.
Crunch Time IV: Blockchain for Finance—what CFOs need to know
Ten minutes into a discussion with a group of blockchain professionals, one CFO shook his head. “This is ridiculously ambiguous,” he complained. And it didn’t take long for others to agree. In response, we set out to demystify blockchain for CFOs, focusing on how finance organisations can apply blockchains to streamline processes, improve controls, and transform finance operations.
Crunch Time IV: Blockchain for Finance is a practical guide for finance organisations that want to understand options for blockchain and make effective decisions about moving forward. It features more than a dozen frequently asked questions finance teams can use to make sense of blockchain technology, as well as a high-level roadmap for adoption. It also includes a seven-point checklist for CFOs who are thinking about embarking on the blockchain journey.
Crunch Time III: The CFO’s guide to cognitive technology
Cognitive technologies have been adopted in other areas of business, inspiring finance to start learning about them, experimenting with them, and figuring out how to use them. The goal, as with any finance technology initiative, is to create a more efficient, insightful, and controlled finance function, yet only 42 percent of surveyed CFO’s said their finance team is knowledgeable about emerging technologies, including cognitive.
Crunch Time III: The CFO’s guide to cognitive technology provides a collection of examples based on currently available technologies we’ve seen companies begin to test and adopt, in addition to our experience working with many finance organisations that are devoting more resources — financial and human — to deploying new technologies in these early days of cognitive.
It’s important to remember that none of these technologies stands on its own. There is no Internet of Things or blockchain without cloud computing. There is no cognitive pattern matching without advanced analytics. The technologies build on one another. And what do they build into? Faster and better ways of getting work done.
Crunch time II: CFOs talk off the record
Thirty CFOs share their unfiltered thoughts and experiences around a broader discussion of finance and what it means to make the digital journey. Deloitte knows that one way to stay abreast of new developments is to join in focused conversations with other finance leaders, across multiple industries and geographies, so this is a good place to start.
Crunch Time: Digital transformation
No matter what future you see ahead for your finance organisation, one thing is sure. If business leaders around you are going to compete in the digital world, they will need to process more information more efficiently, and turn that information into deeper insights faster than ever. It will likely require new technology — a group of people who are curious and skilled in using it.
Deloitte's original point of view, Crunch Time: Finance in a digital world — based on extensive research with finance executives, including in-depth interviews with CFOs of global businesses — explores the various digital disruptors and may be the quickest way to understand what's in store for finance organisations as they hurtle toward the future.
Digital tools for CFOs
Some of the new digital tools available to finance focus specifically on updating core systems and existing capabilities. Other tools, "exponentials", are designed to deliver new and different capabilities. Together, they form a toolset finance can use to improve its own performance and serve the business more effectively, especially when they are used together.
Our research suggests that seven technologies have growing interaction and relevance for how the work of finance get done:
Cloud is a kind of computing that uses scalable, elastic technology to deliver services over the internet. Instead of making large investments up front, finance can get the full stack of finance functionality “as-a-service,” delivered through public, private, or hybrid clouds.
Process robotics automates transaction processing and communication across multiple technology systems. Robots perform recurring processes just like humans, but with less risk of errors and fatigue.
Visualisation refers to the innovative use of images and interactive technology to explore large, high-density data sets. Visualisation suites complement business intelligence and analytics platforms, offering rich graphics, interactivity, and usability on par with leading consumer experiences.
Analytics has long been part of the finance arsenal, but new techniques are helping business people tackle the crunchy questions with insightful answers. Often that means combing through big data to see patterns that suggest future opportunities.
Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI) simulate human thinking. This technology includes machine learning, natural language processing, speech recognition, and computer vision.
In-memory computing refers to storing data in main memory to get faster response times. And because the data is compressed, storage requirements are reduced. The result? Speed and access to quantities of data that were previously unimaginable.
Blockchain is a digital distributed ledger, where transactions are verified and securely stored on a network of distributed and connected nodes, without a governing central authority.