Insight

Advanced analytics and the CFO

How should the finance function engage with new technologies and work with business partners to revolutionize enterprise performance management?

A Harvard Business Review Analytic Services whitepaper sponsored by KPMG LLP

Today, a renewed wave of digital transformation, including advanced analytics fueled by artificial intelligence and machine learning, is breaking over the corporate finance function.

As the pace of business increases, the speed of change accelerates, and finance teams face growing pressure to deliver even greater value to the business, the question CFOs now face is how the finance function should engage with new technologies and work with business partners to revolutionize enterprise performance management.

KPMG research, based on a series of interviews with analytics experts and senior finance executives, shows that recent developments in data and analytics present a clear call to action to finance leaders to define the analytics agenda for the finance function. Read the report to learn about three strategic priorities.

Advanced analytics and the CFO

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Reexamining the technology infrastructure 

In recent years, CFOs have turned to cloud ERP systems to streamline processes and robotic process automation (RPA) to further drive operational efficiency. While many organizations will continue to see the value in these areas, the next several years will be marked by investments in more advanced technologies. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will shift the focus from operational efficiency to enhanced data and insights, which can deliver a quantum leap in performance. CFOs need to ensure they have baseline digital capabilities—specifically around data and processes—to capitalize on these future investments.

Creating business partnerships 

Finance must partner with the business in deeper and more impactful ways, becoming a model for collaboration, cutting across functional areas, and upending silos to unleash value. Business partnering requires not only the ability to provide analysis and insight but also the ability to challenge the business, to be credible, and to be recognized as a valued partner. While there is no one-size-fits-all business partnering model, there is one element that all hold in common: a customer-centric approach to internal customers that helps drive real value for the business and boosts the bottom line.

Developing new skills and talent 

As RPA increasingly captures routine finance work, the human element becomes even more important for performing strategic activities. There will be an increased demand for finance talent specializing in analytics tools, methods, and technology. Critical thinking skills will also be needed to ask insightful questions, interpret data, and draw conclusions rather than simply provide answers. 

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