As Prakash Hariharan, Head of Finance Transformation and Growth at Genpact, states: ‘CFOs are helping their businesses navigate uncertainty. They’re planning for different scenarios, strengthening their performance-management processes, and working toward being ready to adapt at speed. Successful businesses will have CFOs who can help them pivot.’
To get there, CFOs will spearhead collaboration within their organizations and externally with partners and even competitors to innovate or address challenges that lie beyond individual companies. They’ll use digital technologies such as the cloud and analytics to democratize access to data and insights across the businesses wherever people are. And they’ll help enforce and embed ethical values across their businesses’ entire eco-systems.
Following this line, CFOs and finance will take on all-new roles and responsibilities, from investing in new technologies and start-ups like venture capitalists – becoming ‘VCFO’s’ – to facilitating open-source innovation eco-systems shared by different companies. They could also play a central role in reshaping the skills of workforces, using their central position within businesses to address future talent gaps.
‘As leading finance teams become fortune tellers rather than historians, they have an opportunity to lead the charge on reskilling and upskilling employees to think differently,’ says Riju Vashisht, Global Transformation Services Leader at Genpact. ‘Finance can shine a light on how the rest of the organization can address talent gaps and nurture a continuous learning environment.’
The most effective CFOs and finance teams of the future will draw on the power of connected eco-systems, predictive insight, and an adaptive workforce to become agile and resilient. And the next generation of successful businesses will have shaped their finance function into a competitive differentiator. Those that don’t will be left behind.
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