Technology investment and data insight are transforming the way finance teams operate, allowing them to better navigate an uncertain market and unlock value.

One of the great benefits of working within the global technology giant Oracle is the continuous exposure to different ways our global retailers use and benefit from a modern finance system.

When you work in one area for a while, you become less exposed to the amazing opportunities around you.

The pressures of the day job, the never ending to-do list, the ever-demanding customer expectations, together with a lack of resources, are all common issues for global retailers.

The finance team is normally at the heart of the business and takes a fair amount of the business pressure.

Relieve the pressure

A new modern finance delivery model is emerging, equipped for high performance and success in the digital age.

Finance teams have embraced a new operating model that is responsive and change-ready, with digital technologies to proactively automate traditional transactional work.

“We have identified a new operating model for modern finance that enables chief financial officers and their teams to drive greater business agility”

They are also investing in new skillsets to provide the analytical insights and strategic guidance management needs to adopt new digital business models and ways of working.

In our report, we reveal what exemplifies these high-performing teams, what sets them apart from their traditional peers, what benefits they bring to their organisations, and what attributes others can grasp and replicate for their own advantage.

The report – Agile finance revealed: the new operating model for modern finance – contains the blueprint for retail finance teams to follow, and looks at what organisations can expect to gain from this fast-evolving and highly effective source of competitive advantage.

Enabling business agility

Everybody agrees that organisations need to be agile in the digital age.

But how can finance professionals adapt and survive when new digital technologies are disrupting traditional ways of working? And what does finance have to do to remain relevant, to empower the chief financial officer and enable a business to become agile?

In our efforts to find answers to these questions we have identified a new operating model for modern finance consisting of the following attributes that enable chief financial officers and their teams to drive greater business agility:

  • Cross-functional, integrated teams that are centralised in shared services or centres of excellence. Empowered by cloud and digital technologies such as robotic process automation and machine learning, the ever-improving accounting services and efficiency delivered by these teams are driving highly significant business improvement.
  • The ability to unleash the full potential in big data analytics and artificial intelligence. Doing so stretches the financial planning and analysis role beyond recognition, into a powerhouse that generates the insights organisations need to develop innovative strategies and achieve performance levels that eclipse the competition.
  • New skillsets in statistics, data analysis, data visualisation and business partnering, to support rapid decision-making and performance management. GE Digital chief financial officer Khozema Shipchandler, who was interviewed for this report, said: “While it is important to have people with strong commercial awareness, you cannot replace all the hardcore data scientists and data analysts with training in statistics who are the true data masters.”

For more details please download a copy of the report here.

Antony Welfare

Antony Welfare is innovation strategy director at Oracle