CFOtech New Zealand logo
Technology news for Kiwi CFOs and financial decision-makers
Story image

The changing role of the CFO in a post-pandemic era: Leading business change through digital transformation

By Shannon Williams
Thu 6 Jan 2022

The role of the chief financial officer is changing post COVID-19, according to Nathan Kale, country manager A/NZ for contract intelligence company Icertis.

Kale says there is no doubt COVID-19 has changed the nature of the finance office. 

"The pandemic exposed a new normal where commercial circumstances are changing daily, and the CFO’s office is shifting to a more real-time and proactive focus," he says.

The traditional way of operating, with a monthly close, a quarterly close and an annual planning process, has been totally upended, according to Kale. 

"CFOs must be totally agile now and be able to react immediately to changes in the business. Indeed, ultimately they have to look forward and predict what’s going to happen and steer their businesses in the right direction," he says.

"Like almost everything else that came with the pandemic, the imperative for the CFO to have insights into the day-to-day operations of the business—and play a strategic role in guiding those operations—will not go away once the virus is finally defeated."

In fact, in light of a post-pandemic boom, Kale says the CFO’s role is arguably growing even more expansive as companies lean on their expertise to help maximise their rebound from last year’s disruption.

Deloitte reports in its CFO Insights newsletter: “Over the past year, many CFOs have had to deal with higher demands and expanded responsibilities thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across industries, those expanded duties have included leading transformation efforts—both within finance and the overall organisation—as well as driving enterprise growth as companies seek to capitalise on post-pandemic opportunities.”

Kale says these new demands are requiring finance professionals to think differently about the capabilities of their teams to meet these new challenges while, at the same time, “keeping the lights on” in the traditional finance functions.

"CFOs need to improve finance operations with a focus on delivering timelier information, better insights, and automation to streamline operations," he says.

"The modern finance leader plays a critical role in sponsoring and driving digital transformation efforts in both the finance function and more broadly across the business. These high-impact automation projects will help CFOs increase the agility and resilience of their businesses and increase the probability of success in this rapidly changing and uncertain environment."

Agility

Kale says the ability for enterprise leaders to respond quickly to changes in the operating environment is a function of visibility and control. 

"Today, finance leaders have access to a depth and breadth of data that was unimaginable just a few years ago and our ability to use that information to drive tangible outcomes is still evolving," he explains.

"The pandemic has shown many of us that the gap between great business insight and the ability to act on that insight is still wider than it should be – many companies were unable to course-correct quickly because they lacked visibility and control in the midst of the crisis."

For this reason, Kale says systems that structure and connect contract data from across the enterprise are quickly becoming must-have systems of intelligence for CFOs. 

"An organisation-wide contract lifecycle management (CLM) system can give finance and business teams instant access to the company’s full range of entitlements and commitments. That visibility gives CFOs great confidence in managing their business risk and the bottom line."

Resilience

"Risk is present in every one of our businesses – that’s a fact," says Kale. 

"Since we can’t predict the future, the goal as CFOs is to make companies more competitive by creating systems and processes that allow the business to be more risk-tolerant and resilient," he says.

“The pandemic highlighted the importance of resiliency and determining the ability of the enterprise to respond to, and navigate, a risk event,” Deloitte notes. “For example, if the supply chain for a critical semiconductor part in a company’s automobile production is disrupted, how quickly can it adapt to—and overcome—the constraint?”

Kale says operationally minded finance teams will partner with procurement and supply chain teams to drive a more proactive and nimble approach to plan for and manage risks to the business. 

"Cross-functional teams can collectively leverage organisation-wide visibility to make the business more resilient and risk-tolerant," he says.

Execution and Outcomes

"As business leaders, we place a premium on people and systems that improve the probability of success. Deloitte notes that CFOs are increasingly leading the way inside their companies, with “49% of [CFOs] serving as co-leaders for business transformation," says Kale.

"It is indeed the golden age of technology for the office of the CFO – there are myriad solutions that automate transaction processing, streamline the close process, and give us levels of insight that would traditionally take armies of financial analysts to deliver," he says.

Kale says tools that act as systems of intelligence are available to give CFOs the visibility and control they need to manage their business. 

"And through automation and integration into surrounding systems, these sophisticated solutions can ensure the intent of contracts are fully realised, which ultimately improves cash flow and reduces risk," he says.

According to World Commerce & Contracting, an estimated 9% of revenue is lost due to poor contract management. 

"A contract intelligence platform can prevent this kind of leakage by automating contract renewals or by connecting to the revenue delivery system to ensure that all terms and conditions are met to maximise the earning process," Kale says.

"Similarly, businesses can leverage their contract systems to monitor supplier performance or to balance supply chain risk with customer obligations."

According to Kale, the CFO takes a long-term strategic view and works across functions to drive overall business improvement — they are in a unique position to lead digital transformation efforts that work across functional silos and systems to drive growth, improve the bottom line and reduce risk. 

"As CFOs take on this increased responsibility to drive transformation across their business, they should consider investing in high-value systems of intelligence that provide the visibility and control they need to drive agility, resilience, and outcomes across the business."

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
MarTech
Martech experts reveal the “buzz” on personalisation
In the digital age, innovative technology must be leveraged to power an efficient and effective relationship marketing strategy.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Salesforce announces latest generation of MuleSoft
Salesforce has introduced the next generation of MuleSoft, a unified solution for automation, integration and APIs to automate any workflow.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
How organisations can prepare for a post-pandemic workforce
The so-called 'new normal' office looks different to how it did pre-pandemic, and organisations need to take steps to better manage their post-pandemic workforce. 
Story image
Great Resignation
New SAP study uncovers impact of 'the great resignation'
Coined in 2021, the phrase 'the great resignation' refers to millions of employees globally leaving their jobs. The phenomenon is real and impacting SMEs.
Story image
SaaS
Sealord partners with Infor to improve sustainability
Sealord has chosen Infor as a strategic partner to implement an operational cloud-based platform that provides day-one functionality and sustainability gains.
Story image
Microsoft
Volpara, Microsoft project to detect cardiovascular issues
Volpara Health Technologies is working with Microsoft on a research and development project to speed up creating a product that detects and quantifies breast arterial calcifications (BACs).
Story image
Market growth
Salesforce unveils new offerings for consumer goods companies
Salesforce has announced new products for consumer goods companies to help brands navigate increasing market complexity more easily.
Story image
DNS
DigiCert acquires DNS Made Easy and affiliated brands
Greg Clark comments, says, "This combination enhances the security of certificate validation and enables the automation of future validations."
Story image
Healthcare
Workday winning on culture and family focus
This family-first approach sees all employees receive access to family-wide private healthcare cover, as well as income protection and life insurance policies.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Microsoft
SMX partnership with Microsoft leads to NTT recognition
SMX has captured the attention of NTT after receiving positive reviews from businesses across Australasia and beyond for its email security.
Story image
Government
Cyclone selected as NZ MOE software licensing partner
Following a recent Request for Proposal (RFP), Christchurch-based company Cyclone Computer Company Ltd (Cyclone) has been selected as The Ministry of Education’s software licensing partner.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
Phishing
Online identity theft is rising in NZ - here’s what to do about it
It may start with a few stolen details online, but it could end with thousands of dollars missing or worse, a reputation down the drain.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
The Access Group
Struggling to understand which transformative technologies will help your business? The Access Group provides a look into key opportunities and impacts for finance.
Link image
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Cloud
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
BitTitan
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Talend
Forrester names Talend Leader in enterprise data fabric
Forrester has named Talend a leader among enterprise data fabric providers in the Forrester Wave: Enterprise Data Fabric, Q2 2022 report.
Story image
Samsung
Monitors are an excellent incentive for getting employees back
The pandemic has taught us that hybrid working is a lot easier than we would’ve thought, so how can the office be made to feel as comfortable as home? The answer could be staring you in the face right now.
Story image
Public Cloud
Public cloud services revenues top $400 billion in 2021
"For the next several years, leading cloud providers will play a critical role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."
Story image
Airwallex
How Airwallex helps businesses achieve globalisation success
As markets continue to shift, businesses need to be able to provide the same quality of service for customers regardless of where they are located around the world.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Testing
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Tricentis
Tricentis provides software testing automation, and software quality assurance products for enterprise software.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Accenture shares the benefits of supply chain visibility
It's clear that gaining better visibility into the supply chain will help organisations avoid excess costs, inefficiencies, and complexity to ultimately improve their bottom line.
The Access Group
Health and social care organisations are currently under significant financial pressure. Find out how financial transformation can help provide an effective route forward.
Link image
Story image
Contact Centre
Customer service agents don't want to return to contact centres
A new report has revealed that 85% of customer service agents want to work full-time at home and not return to contact centre offices.
Story image
Open source
DataStax secures US$115 million to fund database expansion
DataStax has secured US$115 million in funding, which it will use to develop and expand its Astra DB multi-cloud database and Astra Streaming service globally.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Salesforce harnesses automated solutions with new developments
Salesforce has launched Sales Cloud Unlimited, a new feature to help accelerate productivity with AI and automation.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
Infrastructure
Global investment in data centers more than doubled in 2021
DLA Piper's latest global survey finds the total investment in data center infrastructure worldwide rose from USD $24.4 billion in 2020 to USD $53.8 billion in 2021.
Story image
Music
Mastercard reveals first-ever album titled Priceless
Mastercard's music album Priceless has been unveiled at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and features 10 songs by 10 artists worldwide.
The Access Group
Increasing headcount isn't always the best way to grow. A good financial strategy can help solve many issues, and The Access Group shares the secret to success.
Link image
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Data
How a single mandate changed software development forever
There’s conjecture about exactly when it was issued and by whom, but a mandate made twenty years ago is continuing to shape the software development process today.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?