4 things leaders need to think about when leading a digital transformation for finance

Digital transformation is in Finance is essential in order for businesses to remain competitive and stay relevant in increasingly global, digital marketplaces.  Technology is key for businesses to be able to evolve with markets and meet customer needs – from small and medium-sized businesses, to large enterprises.

What is digital transformation?

We define digital transformation as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, resulting in fundamental changes to business operations.

The benefits of digital transformation in Financial Operations are recognised as improving efficiencies and the accuracy of standard processes through digitalisation and automation.

Such developments in Financial Operations are made possible by many areas of technology, including cloud, robotic process automation, data analytics, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

4 things leaders need to think about when leading a digital transformation

1. Lead a cultural shift

Digital transformation is not just implementation of new technology, systems and processes: it is also embarking on a cultural change that requires organisations to reconsider their working practises.  Digital transformation in Financial Operations means confronting current operating models by experimenting with new solutions and business processes – that ultimately change working practises.

The specific needs of each business vary, which means so too do the implementations; so digital transformation for one business could mean a cloud-based solution to create a paperless office, or implementation of automations to control invoice management.

2. What does digital transformation mean to Financial Operations?

For this reason, digital transformation should not just be a tick-box exercise: implementing automation, for example, should not just be for automation’s sake.  Establishing and identifying what technology can add to a business function is therefore key to ensure the process is worthwhile.

Digital transformation provides Financial Operations with many opportunities to improve and streamline its procedures, but technology changes the business context in which these jobs and processes exist and operate.

3. People are key

Digital transformation calls for strong leadership to communicate their vision, and leaders of Financial Operations need to demonstrate that they are open to change.

Digital transformation implores Financial Operations professionals to play their own part in the transformation at all stages and levels as jobs and responsibilities evolve.  These changes require regular and potentially substantial reskilling – and this requirement is likely to accelerate in the future as organisations seek to be ever-more responsive to customers and competitors.

Digital transformation requires a significant change of skills, behaviour and culture; highlighting the importance of learning, change and experimentation.  These approaches are quite different to traditional ways of thinking in Financial Operations.  Are you open and ready to lead this transformation?

4. Lead continuous learning

Analysing the value of digital transformation is essential – but so too is learning and communicating successes and mistakes made – which are inevitable during all transformations.

For leaders, start at the top and consider what the business is trying to accomplish, rather than focusing just on the technology and what it offers.  Focus on reflecting on how technology and solutions have supported your team members, and how this could be improved.

Leaders need to demonstrate they are responsive when mistakes are made, and flexible when change is required during the transformation process.  Sharing learnings with your team is key.

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