8 steps for finance leaders to deliver digital transformation

To thrive and grow in an environment of disruption and instability, organisations are finding they need to accelerate the pace of digital transformation to stay relevant. And digital finance transformation is key to that success. Delivering successful digital transformation is redefining the roles of finance leaders and their teams — and unlocking their full potential with new digital tools.

Digital transformation comes with huge opportunities. To achieve successful transformation, consider these eight key steps.

Start with a road map

The first step in finance digital transformation is to map your processes and the transformation journey in detail. This includes mapping the gap between where you are now and where you want to get to. So consider current processes and what procedures and software need to change. Also, consider the new required ways of working and who is involved in that. You need to understand what your aims and goals are, and problems and pressure points — and develop strategies that are clear and communicated to all, and that support the organisation’s vision.

Create a digital culture

Successful digital transformation requires a structured and integrated approach — and people are central. Start in one area of the business to get the transformation right, and then you can expand it throughout the organisation. This will provide the environment to build engagement, establish internal champions, enable quick wins, and showcase early success stories.

Build solid processes

Processes should be streamlined with everyone involved agreeing where and how technology should work throughout the transformation. Processes should also support the strategies and be agile and effective. For example, when building a human resources management platform, the first step should be to standardise jobs — to ensure that you are left with only the jobs you need. This avoids “digitising waste”.

Make data analytics standard practice

Finance should have access to real-time data as it enables decision-making and identifies where value can be added.

Learn from others

Employees should be provided with learning resources and time for professional development. Train each staff member and show them what they need to do. Also, draw on the skills and experience of a wide network of leaders and staff at all levels.

Develop cloud-based tools

Moving to cloud technology can reduce system complexity and cost. It also makes it easier to keep up to date with new software releases. Likewise, investing in automation of controls and removing manual spreadsheets and the risk that goes with them are important. Systems should also have the ability to integrate and connect — for example, it is not practical to have a financial system that does not link with the system that supports procurement.

Create collaborations

Creating a digital culture fosters collaboration with others, and giving all participants a voice is essential. Include all required parties from the start, so they are part of the journey. Involve senior staff and business owners in the early stages and then work down to the functions you need, such as accounts payable. IT teams can include a mix of data scientists, engineers, and business analysts. It’s useful to tap into the knowledge of tech-savvy junior analysts. It’s important to collaborate with teams and colleagues in areas like procurement and HR, to re-engineer processes and ensure they are as seamless as possible.

Take an iterative approach

Adopting new technologies and digitising an organisation requires an iterative approach. Learning from the refinements at each stage can ensure digital transformation is optimised.


Adapted from: “8 steps for finance leaders to deliver digital transformation”, by Miti Ampoma, a senior content writer with the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, representing AICPA & CIMA, published on FM magazine on 26 September 2022.

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