Accelerating Digital: Future-ready Finance 

Digital transformation strategies that enable Finance to drive greater value and growth

FEATURED CONTENT

Getting digital transformation right.

In a fast-evolving landscape, Finance leaders have a wide range of tactical options. Effective transformation is about intelligent bets – the right initiatives, in the right order. Does your organization have these critical building blocks in place?

  • Defining the digital strategy for the business
  • Connecting the enterprise from a customer-centric perspective
  • Scaling digital capabilities across processes and functions
  • Ensuring high-quality data to drive trust
  • Creating a “design-think” culture to support ongoing innovation
  • Building a centralized digital governance framework

Download our white paper to assess your current state and how to start. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read our insights on key components to accelerate your digital transformation 

Finance’s digital transformation picks up speed, now puts strategy and customers first

The future once envisioned for Finance is already here. Inside the business, automation and AI have redefined internal processes and the role of human input. In the external marketplace, virtual engagement with customers is the norm. In this landscape, the events of the past year have only underscored the need for strategic bets and focused investment in digital transformation.

Current state, target state, steady state

The rapid pace of change in technology means digital integration must become a continuous process that anticipates change and embeds the capacity to absorb new tools and methodologies. See why Finance is now ideally placed to be the internal catalyst of a company’s digital evolution.

Finance can spearhead organizational innovation

Today’s companies recognize the imperative to work toward becoming fully digital enterprises. Design thinking—a holistic approach to creative problem-solving—can position Finance organizations to approach challenges differently and uncover new client solutions.

Digital transformation agendas for Finance, in a new reality

Success in 2020 required companies to speed up their digital transformation agendas in a matter of months. Now, the new reality demands continuous scalable change. See how digital leaders are moving fast – and smartly – to gain a future-ready competitive advantage. 

CLIENT STORY

Investing in change: Global tech company hardwires FinOps innovation


When a global technology company wanted to consolidate, embed and carry forward what it had learned from finance transformation, it asked KPMG to help establish a Finance Center of Innovation (CoI). In eight weeks, KPMG team took the client from initial concept to a detailed 60-day playbook, configured to its complex financial operations and requirements for stakeholder buy-in. Read the story below to learn how we can help your business leverage its own innovation successes across Finance operations.

 

 

 

 

  • Client Challenge
  • Benefits to Client
  • KPMG approach
  • KPMG Insights

Client Challenge

You’re never too big to innovate. In fact, investing in change is now essential for large companies to stay on top. A Fortune 25 global technology client brought in KPMG to provide external expertise on the latest trends and best practices in digital innovation, based on our experience with similar projects and interactions with forward-looking companies.

Specifically, the client had a goal to establish a Center of Innovation (COI) across its financial operations as part of a strategic organizational upgrade. The lead finance stakeholders sought to empower all teams under the finance umbrella to identify innovations, but then also to rapidly embed the productive new ideas into operations through the right mix of people, process and technology.

While the client had identified a core internal leadership team to drive the COI, they wanted external insights and experience to ensure they established the right COI structure for their organization, leveraging industry-leading operating models and capabilities.

Benefits to Client

Over an 8-week period, our KPMG team took the client from initial concept to a detailed 60-day playbook for its Center of Innovation (COI) rollout that was uniquely tailored to the client’s complex financial operations—and the related buy-in from dependent teams across the company. As a result, the client:

  • Developed a strong foundation within 8 weeks to accelerate the successful launch of its new COI organization
  • Kick-started a successful rollout by using a foundational, comprehensive KPMG playbook that outlined the key capabilities, required roles and responsibilities, an interaction model to gain support from other teams, and governance forums to ensure areas like compliance, security and data management
  • Established an overarching vision and set of guiding principles that were essential to designing and operationalizing their leading-practice COI
  • Leveraged a high-level “walking deck” summary of the 60-day plan to support executive sponsorship and support from other key partners across the company

KPMG approach

Our client was committed to jump-starting digital innovation in its finance operations, and especially by looking at learnings and best practices from outside the company. They desired an innovation incubator, and so they chose KPMG as their partner because of our experience with similar projects and our insights on the effective approaches to innovation that we have seen with other clients.

To take their goal of a Center of Innovation (COI) from concept to reality—and design the best COI model for this global tech powerhouse—we started first with leadership interviews across the finance teams to assess their current perspectives, perceptions and thought processes. How did they envision a COI working? What could it do for them? Then we drilled down further via discussions with the functional teams that sat within the finance operation, from accounting and payables to finance-specific engineering and data and analytics.

After capturing those perspectives, we facilitated (held?) a series of workshops to distill them down to an overarching vision and set of guiding principles to ensure those north stars tracked through the COI rollout and ongoing implementation and expansion process.

All of this informed our final, high-level recommendation on an operating model, the innovation life cycle, and how new ideas could be generated and cascaded to the right channels, at the right time, for implementation.

Underpinning our recommendations were:

  • A capabilities framework, which helped identify the skills the finance team needed to develop and embed in their COI as a core functions for the group
  • A more detailed recommendation on the key roles they needed to fill to accelerate the COI’s development
  • An interaction model that outlined how the COI would need to engage other teams in the company—for example, technology, legal, customer service—to gain buy-in and show efficiencies for all
  • A suggested governance framework and structure to facilitate everything from compliance to executive sponsorship

After the 8 week project, the client was armed with the highly detailed 60-day launch playbook that captured all of the insights above, as well a summary presentation for executive sponsors and cross-functional partners.

The end result: from ideas to a Center of Innovation roadmap, in 8 weeks.

KPMG Insights

Start with Step 1

Digital innovation doesn’t have to mean “let’s boil the ocean.” Our large global tech client was committed to iterating its finance operations by testing innovative ideas from the start. In just 8 weeks, it was able to go from workshopping operating concepts to a detailed plan to start rolling out its Center of Innovation in a couple of key areas. And the client set its expectations accordingly: Success meant launching its COI so that it could steadily scale by identifying winning new digital innovations—one step at a time—and then rapidly embedding them into its processes.

Look Outside

No company has yet to corner the market on innovation. Be ready to look outside your company—at your competitors, sure, but even at entirely different industries—to learn what’s working in innovation and disruptive new ideas. Not every external best practice will be right for your company, but that macro view will give you a much broader perspective—and the acuity to drill down on the types of innovation that best fit your company.


CLIENT STORY

Transforming financial operations from within


Step by step: How KPMG guided a tech leader to scale up automation, fortify controls, and empower its finance “citizens” to manage and grow innovation.

 

 

 

  • Client Challenge
  • Benefits to Client
  • KPMG approach
  • KPMG Insights

Client Challenge

Our large hardware network technology client was all-in on its commitment to a full-scale digital transformation of its financial operations. But its initial efforts on process automations produced only a few updates of marginal value, and the automation effort in general struggled to gain traction across the finance teams. In addition, the company lacked a solid controls framework, often with limited visibility across financial processes and into approval thresholds. Its ongoing efforts to improve controls efficiencies via automation needed immediate acceleration.

For a reset, the Controller group took on the project sponsorship from Information Technology and turned to KPMG for help. They wanted a full review and rethink of the strategy, project design, and operating model, with the end goal of meaningfully scaling and expanding automation across finance and gradually enabling the finance teams themselves to manage and expand these innovations going forward. The client had several incumbents to cover specific disciplines, but they moved to KPMG because of our broad capabilities: established track record with automation solutions, extensive experience with controls risk assessments and mitigations, and our general success with large-scale business transformation projects. 

Benefits to Client

Digital transformation projects don’t happen overnight. But over two years, we worked with our client to steadily prove out and then scale up successful innovations that established buy-in and utilization across finance operations. A key factor was the immediate establishment of a Digital Transformation Office (DTO), using a citizen-led model in which KPMG technologists worked with a group of internal finance super-users, who helped identify, develop, and then maintain high-value automations. Key outcomes included:

  • A robust DTO that has steadily expanded internal finance capabilities while continuing to work with KPMG for ongoing guidance
  • More than 75 citizen developers trained and actively operating across all finance teams—and increasing demand to expand to other teams, such as procurement and human resources
  • More than 220 live automations and more 60,000 hours saved in efficiencies in the first two years alone
  • A new automation-first way of thinking that is now firmly embedded in the FinOps culture, with team members constantly challenging themselves to do their jobs more effectively
  • An Automation Governance Playbook, which outlines development standards, roles and responsibilities, and compliance needs
  • Complex automation solutions and ongoing support for citizen developers in bot development and quality assurance.

As the project evolved, the client also asked KPMG to help strengthen its controls framework, recommending automation where possible. Key outcomes included:

  • Process maps/flows, with controls mapped to them
  • Detailed risk and control matrices, summarizing key risks and associated controls for each area
  • Gaps and remediation recommendations to reduce operating risks and improve process efficiencies, with specific action plans to address key items
  • Recommendations for enhanced controls and a testing approach to help minimize risk exposure
  • Roadmap of automation opportunities to improve controls and increase process efficiencies
  • A fully updated and more efficient controls framework.

KPMG approach

With multiple previous partners and some false-starts on its own finance automation efforts, our client needed some wins—proof that innovative digital improvements could be demonstrated, fully incorporated into the business, and then rapidly extended across finance operations. KPMG worked with our client in a series of steadily ramped-up efforts over two years that covered three distinct phases:

  • Design and roll-out of the DTO as the finance team’s engine of innovation
  • Robust new approach and roadmap for automation opportunities
  • Thorough risk and controls assessment and related recommendations for a leading-practice framework.

Our KPMG team started with the DTO initiative, working with a core group of the client’s finance leads to help ensure the effort was citizen-led from the outset. The hybrid KPMG-client DTO then focused on automation, assessing the current pipeline of potential changes and establishing a thorough list of winnable opportunities. We also evaluated current automation vendors and made recommendations on an updated vendor landscape to support leading practices across all go-forward efforts. To guide the overall initiative, we created an Automation Governance Playbook. And on an ongoing basis, we led training sessions to steadily grow the pool of in-house citizen developers while also supporting quality assurance reviews.

As the automation effort successfully took hold across finance operations, the client asked us to expand our approach into a comprehensive controls assessment. KPMG assisted the client with the following approach:

  • Risk assessment and scoping to identify high-risk processes and controls across shared services
  • Documentation and walk-throughs to understand and document relevant processes
  • Gap and automation assessment to identify both control gaps and potential automation opportunities to improve controls and deliver process efficiencies
  • Alignment and remediation by developing remediation plans and agreeing on ownership with key stakeholders
  • Ongoing monitoring and testing support via selective controls testing and helping to ensure monitoring mechanisms.

The resulting upgraded controls framework is now managed and monitored as part of the client’s overall DTO efforts.

KPMG Insights

Don’t settle

So-so results or even outright failures are essential parts of innovation—as long as you acknowledge those results quickly and mine them for the key insights that will point to the right next steps. Accelerating digital transformation means rapidly identifying both winners and losers, scaling up successful efforts and never settling for halfway.

Earn buy-in early

Want to get all of the finance teams rapidly on board with transformation initiatives? Demonstrate tangible wins—no matter how small—as quickly as possible. That can be as simple as automating a single finance report in the first few weeks of an innovation initiative, and immediately showing a reduction in staff hours and increased accuracy. There’s a huge difference between demonstrating that real value—quickly—versus “mandating” buy-in from above. Bonus: The rest of the company will want to climb aboard as well.

Our client now has more than 75 citizen developers who have generated more than 220 productive automations across financial operations that have saved more than 60,000 hours in staff time.

Contact us

Ron Walker

Ron Walker

Finance Transformation Service Network Lead, KPMG US

Michael Kokotajlo

Michael Kokotajlo

Managing Director, Finance Transformation, KPMG US

Shehtaaz Zaman

Shehtaaz Zaman

Director, Finance Transformation, KPMG US

Colleen Mohnkern

Colleen Mohnkern

Director, Advisory, Finance Transformation, KPMG US

David Brown

David Brown

Global Head, KPMG Managed Services Principal, Advisory, KPMG US

Anand Sekhar

Anand Sekhar

Managing Director, Digital Enablement, KPMG US