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How can businesses modernize their finance operations? By taking a human-led, tech-powered approach to transformation. Consider this an opportunity for your company to build a modern finance workforce—one that can be a strategic business partner rather than simply a financial steward.
To get there, you’ll need to reimagine roles, reskill staff and prioritize data analytics. The benefits are clear: In our experience working with clients, we’ve seen that companies that bolster their workforce, hone analytical capabilities and turn finance into a strategic business partner are better able to drive transformative results across their organization and core leadership teams.
68% of CFOs are investing in digital transformation over the next 12 months, including in technologies like cloud and analytics.
While investment in technology continues to be a critical component of modernizing the finance function, finance leaders believe five of the six top steps hinge on people:
As the finance function continues to evolve, business leaders recognize that they’ll need a workforce with new skills in order to meet new demands. Leading finance organizations are investing more in finance upskilling and reskilling. They’re investing at least three times more in upskilling programs than the median and nearly twice the number of the hours. These organizations are creating—and iterating on—a workforce transformation roadmap to support productivity, innovation and growth-enhancing tech investments.
The reskilling programs that leading organizations have put in place are not just check-the-box activities. These businesses are anticipating the skills they may need for the future, laying a new cultural foundation for their company and delivering modern upskilling programs. They’re also assessing their workforce’s current skills and designing an “always-on” learning environment, in which employees are encouraged to share new capabilities and apply what others are doing to their own work, contributing to their finance-transformation-related outcomes.
Technical upskilling is important, of course, but investments that improve non-technical capabilities are just as critical. Traditionally, finance success meant “reporting out” numbers with limited analysis. Now, additional competencies are needed, including data-driven storytelling, communication, collaboration, adaptability and innovation. To be effective, finance leaders should deeply understand their business so they can use data to tell a compelling story.
Upskilling investments pay off in other ways, as well. Firms that invest heavily in upskilling have 27% lower turnover than organizations that do not invest as heavily, according to PwC’s 2021 Finance Effectiveness Benchmarking Study. This means lower replacement costs, less drag on productivity and less time required for retraining. In addition, tailored learning programs grow higher-performing, more stable teams and expand the capabilities of employees in anticipating and addressing the changing needs of the business.
73% of employees say they know of systems or technology that would help them produce higher-quality work.
Most finance organizations have made significant investments in technology, but many have failed to capitalize on their tech’s full potential. Why? Because they’re not tapping into the full potential of their people. Firms that maximize their investments can connect the right technology to new ways of working. Some, for example, pair macro investments in technology infrastructure with employee crowd-sourcing, also known as citizen-led innovation, to give individuals the autonomy to apply their learning to their work in real-time. The result? Work feels meaningful and relevant, which leads to greater efficiencies from automation activities. Your staff can then spend more time focusing on the higher-value work that connects them to the purpose and goals of the business.
Continued automation can free up people’s time, but it’s important to consider how you can help your employees do their jobs differently. Here are four ideas:
Percentage of FTE time spent doing work that could be automated
Based on our observations, companies that embrace upskilling and focus on their people appear to be more productive, collaborative and innovative than the ones that don’t. While modernizing your finance function takes work, businesses that take time for a more human-led and tech-powered approach to transformation can see the benefits of that investment. Now is the time for your business to reimagine the way it works and invest in building the skills you need to thrive.
PwC has exercised reasonable care in the collecting, processing and reporting of this information but has not independently verified, validated or audited the data to verify the accuracy or completeness of the information. PwC gives no express or implied warranties, including but not limited to any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or use and shall not be liable to any entity or person using this document, or have any liability with respect to this document. This report is for general purposes only, and is not a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.