The real role of finance in transformation

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Finance execs discussed their role in transformation at the Finance Indaba Live 2022.

This morning at the Finance Indaba Live, a panel of experts from the fields of technology and finance debated finance and accountants’ evolving role and most importantly, their role in transformation. Kada Phiri, business development manager at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Southern Africa, believes transformation is currently being driven by factors such as talent, climate and sustainability, supply chain and a digitally led customer.

“Transformation is about performance, data and technology architecture, which are fundamental to organisational success and the core of finance,” he added.
Kada said finance professionals need to change their thinking and approach, focusing less on performance drivers like cashflow and pivoting towards protecting and generating an organisation’s value. “Finance people shouldn’t just be scorekeepers, they should also provide data, insight and predictive analysis which adds and generates value,” he explained.

Gone are the days of five-year financial forecasts, he said, because the business environment is developing so rapidly, which is why finance departments need to focus on analysing data from all relevant channels, including social media, in order to support business cases and strategy. “The focus needs to change from profit to sustainability,” he added.

His sentiments were echoed by Mazvita Maradzika, managing director at Selective Empowerment Investments, who added that in order for transformation to be successful in organisations, finance departments had to be involved in non-finance functions.

 

Jodi Joseph, divisional executive at CaseWare Africa, said one of the biggest tools at the disposal of financial departments is technology. Simple tools like Planner Board, free on the Microsoft Teams suite, can change how an organisation works and invite collaboration across departments, which in turn leads to transformation. “Technology empowers everyone and allows everyone to participate. If you are intimidated by technology, start small. Most technology is a lot easier to use than before,” she said.

Like Kada, Jodi believes that, “those who conquer data will win in the future. That is why it is important for a CFO to own the data and drive it.”

For more insights on the role of finance in transformation, look out for ACCA Southern Africa’s study on www.accaglobal.com/africa.

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