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CFOs are getting excited!


Digital transformation of the finance function can improve transactional performance and deliver insights that create and sustain value across the entire enterprise.

Think of CFOs, and who do you picture? Typically, you might see them as prudent people. Measured. Cautious. Rather skeptical. They’re not the category of board members you might traditionally regard as the first adopters of technology.

But times have changed, and it’s time to look again. Recent developments in the automation of processes are firing people’s imaginations – and who’s taking the lead? CFOs and other senior finance executives, that’s who.

It’s not that they’ve lost a sense of proportion. On the contrary: they seem to be taking a balanced view of the technology, which they’re assessing against their own corporate practices and culture – and they can see real possibilities. No wonder they’re excited.

How do I know?

How can I be certain? Not just because of my day job, but because here at Capgemini, we recently commissioned a study of 500 senior finance executives in Europe and North America. It was conducted for us by Longitude, a Financial Times company. The report found that robotic process automation (RPA) in finance is well under way, and that as part of this, some organizations are also exploring artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

They’re looking at procurement, client billing, order management, reporting, and more – all activities in which systems are in place – and they’re exploring digital transformation, and the extent to which it might usefully be applied.

Why are CFOs excited?

Why are finance leaders so keen on digital transformation? At the most basic level, they see it can improve transactional performance. For example, a better accounts receivable function is a desirable end in itself, because it’s efficient, and because it consolidates relationships with suppliers.

At the next level, they see it can transform the entire finance function, streamlining its operations, improving its cost-effectiveness, and generating attractive returns within the next three years.

And at the third and final level, digitally transforming finance can generate benefits beyond its own remit: it can mean finance delivers insights that create and sustain value across the entire enterprise. It can play a major part in putting their customers at the heart of what they do – as these figures from responses to our report demonstrate:

  • 60% expect that in three years’ time, automation will be helping them to improve their customers’ experience.
  • 55% say it will be helping to unlock new insights that drive value for the business.

Our study also identified an elite group that is leading the way in enterprise automation and AI. We termed them “Masters,” and found that:

  • 58% of Masters believe benefits will be delivered within three years.
  • 65% of them are leading the way for automation in their organization, delivering benefits and enhancing the role of finance as a trendsetter.

In my next post, I’ll be looking more closely at these trailblazers, and what we can learn from their success. After this, colleagues of mine will consider the strategic and tactical implications of our findings.

These are fascinating and fast-moving times, and it’s not just CFOs who are getting excited. Here at Capgemini, we are too!

Read the full “Reimagining Finance for the Digital Agereport.

To learn more about how Capgemini’s intelligent automation can deliver enhanced value to your finance function, contact:

Learn more about how Capgemini’s Finance Powered by Intelligent Automation offering and our “Five Sense of Intelligent Automationare at heart of how we deliver AI.

Carole  Murphy leads Capgemini’s Business Transformation Services, a global team of transformation professionals and is responsible for developing and delivering transformational solutions for our clients. Drawing on over 20 years of experience across operations, consulting, and transformation, Carole helps large global organizations achieve their business objectives and operational excellence through BPO-led transformation and alignment of Capgemini’s Business Services and Group assets to deliver efficiency, value, and improved control in their operations.