The experiences of the past 18 months stemming from the pandemic have changed many aspects of our lives. A report by ACCA and PwC, Finance functions: seizing the opportunity, highlights what this means for the finance team, including a renewed focus on the data and technology it uses, the skillsets it needs, and how it innovates and collaborates with other teams across the organisation.
The report, which is informed by surveys and roundtables run by ACCA and PwC in March and April 2021, finds that finance teams have been asked to do more in all areas of their work. Many report signs of fatigue and mental strain, but many have seen an increase in status within their organisations.
Respondents speak of an opportunity for finance in areas where it had become increasingly relevant. However, only 34% believe that this will be a long-lasting change. There is a risk that this significant gain will be lost if the benefits are not clearly articulated.
Other findings are outlined below.
The report highlights the following post-pandemic action plan for finance.
- Redefine the focus of finance to include broader performance metrics for natural and human capital.
- Invest in technologies that can be used to create and support an enterprise-wide data model.
- Use predictive analytics based upon this model to drive more holistic business decision-making.
- Enhance business partnering and analytical skills to ensure that finance can fulfil this new role across the organisation and continue to improve collaboration, both across it and with external parties.
- Drive for greater efficiency, productivity and standardisation across processes and common platforms.
- Through these actions, establish finance as the central point within the organisation for achieving sustainable and responsible growth and enhancing the reputation of the organisation.