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Transforming the finance function: A three-dimensional approach

Beth Kaplan, managing director, Deloitte & Touche LLP

Future controllership talent models need to consider work, workplace, and workforce dimensions in order to transform the finance function.

June 25, 2019

Technology disruptions to the finance function are reshaping the workforce of the future. What should controllership talent models look like going forward? A human-centered transformation of work, workplace, and workforce dimensions will transform the finance function and shape the future of finance.

Our recent Dbriefs series, Controllership talent model: Embracing the workforce of the future, examined how these three integrated dimensions of workforce transformation impact the controllership function.

By leveraging a structured, flexible approach to envisioning, designing, and transforming your workforce, you can bring the future of work to life in your organization.

—Casey Caram, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP

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What work should be augmented by technology or automated entirely?

The nature of work is changing to achieve new business goals that align controllership with the future of finance. This introduces new skills and capabilities, such as automation and augmentation, and a controllership that is becoming more touchless, real-time, and centralized. What skills does each of those introduce into the function? Here are some examples:


  • Transaction processing is expected to become increasingly automated, and there is a greater emphasis on user experience
  • Reduced operational staff and an increase in technology staff


  • Continuous and automated consolidation and report generation may enable an efficient financial close and real-time assessment of business performance
  • More engagement and in-depth analysis of certain business drivers such as spend and revenue leakage


  • Lower transaction processing cost lead to cheaper in-house transaction processing through a shared service center model
  • A need for expanded skillsets beyond traditional finance, focusing on a mix of technology management and partnership with business segments

A real-world example of digital transformation driving changes to the workforce. Finance in a Digital World Crunch time series, Business reporting in a digital world, explores benefits to reporting quality and efficiency that can be delivered by the same set of digital technologies.


Who can perform the work of the future across alternative talent pools?

Once an organization identifies how the nature of work is changing for their specific organization, they need to identify talent investments that can achieve desired outcomes while closing skills gaps by tapping into alternative talent pools or upskilling.

To better identify the applicable talent model, organizations need to understand how work outcomes are changing, and then use those desired outcomes to identify, access, and activate needed skills. The following questions help define future work outcomes and inform talent investments.

  • Understand the future of work outcomes. What value is delivered to the business?
  • Identify skills to drive outcomes. What human skills are required to do the work?
  • Assess against skills identified. What skills do we have, and where do we need to invest?
  • Develop a plan to activate new skills. How will we build, buy, and borrow skills to activate the workforce?


Where should the work be located?

Organizations need to consider geography, as well as technology, physical premise design, productivity, and collaboration factors, in order to achieve desired work outcomes.

These factors influence the choice of the workplace, as well as specific tasks and functions. To help identify a beneficial work environment for a task or function level, here are some questions to ask:

  • In-person interaction: How much in-person interaction is required to accomplish the work outcome?
  • Access to the ecosystem: To what extent does the work outcome require access to geographically-specific partners and resources?
  • Infrastructure: To what extent is physical infrastructure access needed to accomplish the work outcome?

Once these questions are answered, three types of work environments can be considered.

  • Physical workplace: Supports interactions between individuals in the same location enabled by the design of the physical workspace and technology
  • Virtual workplace: Supports interactions between remote individuals enabled by technology
  • Hybrid workplace: Supports interactions between collocated and remote individuals enabled by the design of the physical workspace and technology

Stay tuned for the next blog post in our talent model series where we continue to explore how technology and personnel disruptions drive the future of work.

On-demand webcast: Controllership talent model: Embracing the workforce of the future

Emerging technologies and digital transformation are disrupting the controllership function as the workforce of the future comes of age. What should the ever-evolving talent model in finance and controllership look like going forward?

This on-demand webcast discusses:

  • How digital transformation continues to drive changes in the workforce and what those changes mean for the controllership talent model.
  • What finance organizations are doing to retool and build new skill sets within existing teams to benefit from the new talent model.
  • How academic institutions can integrate learning, teaching, and training to prepare the new hires of tomorrow.

In addition, you can access our Dbriefs Green Room discussion where the speakers address unanswered questions from the webcast and provide a deeper perspective on the topic.

To better understand the impact of technology on accounting talent, take a look at our recent blog: Controllership and the workforce of the future.

Green room: Controllership talent model: Embracing the workforce of the future

To continue the dialogue from the Dbriefs webcast, Controllership talent model: Embracing the workforce of the future, executives and guests join us to answer additional participant questions and share more insights and considerations for the evolving controllership workforce, skills for digital transformation, and how academic institutions may better prepare the new hires of tomorrow.

  • What do you first see as the skill mix for controllership in the next three to five years?
  • How do you balance getting work done with fewer resources prior to fully implementing new technology?
  • How should we avoid bypassing experienced employees who aren’t just comfortable with technology?

Visit the Controllership Insights blog for additional blog posts.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

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