Managing successful finance transformation
Faced with an array of challenges – from new digital technologies and rising customer expectations to concerns about global recession and better cost optimization – many enterprises are looking to finance transformation to help build the enterprise value of the finance function. Companies want better insight from finance along with closer collaboration with the business. To achieve this, the role of finance must evolve into that of a strategic business partner and driver of enterprise change.
This type of transformation requires finance organizations to automate and standardize processes, migrate routine activities to global business services (GBS) organizations, and use advanced analytics to parse a wide range of enterprise data for insight.
The Hackett Group can help. From redesigning finance strategy and order-to-cash processes to recommending best practices for organizations and supporting technology, we provide comprehensive strategic finance transformation services that accelerate the development of world-class solutions.
Five success factors
Through business benchmarking studies with world-class performers across a variety of industries, The Hackett Group has identified five traits of companies that are most likely to succeed at finance transformation.
Balanced and cross-functional project teams
A full-on transformation initiative requires team members with complementary skills, including some who can focus on the project full time. Teams need a dedicated project leader who can oversee business transformation from beginning to end, working closely with the chief financial officer (CFO). Outside expertise is always helpful because few organizations have access to all of the skills and expertise they require in-house.
A project management infrastructure and governance framework
Significant change initiatives typically involve multiple projects and can be susceptible to scope creep. Organizations that excel at finance transformation tend to embrace a project management framework, establishing a dedicated transformation management office (TMO) to document the road map, coordinate various initiatives, ensure that projects stay in sync with the charter, and orchestrate processes across projects and departments.
Rather than simply documenting a transformation plan and coordinating activities, TMOs can provide decision support, helping the different parts of the organization assess and prioritize projects, manage resources, and use appropriate metrics to track progress.
A balance between deadlines and quality
Simply meeting deadlines won’t guarantee successful finance transformation. The most effective organizations revise schedules when hitting deadlines means risking that projects may lack important functionality or capabilities.
Measurement of progress
Running intermittent post-mortem analyses allows organizations to regularly assess success and identify early wins to build momentum and credibility. Recurrent status checks help the TMO to determine what’s working and what’s not, delivering the insight required to adjust the approach and tactics.
Accelerate finance transformation with The Hackett Group
Drawing from unparalleled intellectual property and more than 23,000 benchmark studies, The Hackett Group is a leading global strategy and operations consulting firm to global businesses. Our services facilitate digital transformation, implementation of leading enterprise cloud applications, workflow automation and analytics that promote Digital World Class™ performance.
With experience that spans every facet of finance – from finance planning and analysis to zero-based budgeting – our consulting teams help redesign finance strategy, processes, organization and supporting technology in ways that deliver immediate and lasting value. Our comprehensive strategic finance transformation services include:
- Finance vision and strategy
- Finance technology strategy
- Digital transformation
- Benchmarks for finance and sales, general and administrative expenses
- Best practice process redesign
- Shared and global business services
- Enterprise performance management and advanced analytics
- Finance talent management
- Working capital management
- Finance outsourcing advice and support
Our approach to finance transformation
Because finance transformation initiatives today have a broader set of objectives, they require a different approach. We employ a six-step process.
- Define a new purpose. As the finance organization excels in a new role as a strategic partner, it must clearly delineate the purpose of finance transformation with broad, bold motivations. This raises the stakes and demonstrates the potential for finance to increase the company’s profitability and ensures continued growth.
- Create a comprehensive blueprint. A business transformation road map should identify the expected end state, as well as foundational projects, prioritizing their rollout to start with projects that will deliver quick value or capabilities.
- Strengthen business ownership. While transformation projects have been traditionally led by the information technology organization, world-class organizations tend to have a single ownership model led by the business for end-to-end processes and initiatives such as finance transformation.
- Optimize the finance service delivery model. The new finance service delivery model employs centers of excellence and GBS organizations, which are ideal for finance transformation projects.
- Incorporate agile concepts. Rather than a massive initiative that proceeds slowly through a linear path, finance transformation may be best accomplished by executing change processes in agile sprints. Projects can be prioritized by readiness for process change, opportunities for quick wins and where change will have the biggest impact.
- Embrace comprehensive change management strategies. Effective change management drives buy-in at all levels of the organization, brings transparency to the process, clearly identifies rules and expectations, and guides interactions and expectations for the transformation team.
Why customers choose The Hackett Group
The Hackett Group is an intellectual property-based strategic consultancy, providing leading business benchmarking services to global companies. Our unparalleled intellectual property is drawn from more than 23,000 benchmark studies with the world’s leading businesses, including 97% of the Dow Jones Industrials, 94% of the Fortune 100, 51% of the FTSE 100 and 70% of the DAX 30. Our broad array of services includes executive advisory programs and consulting for business transformation, human resources operations, strategic sourcing, and implementation of new operating models and cloud applications.
To facilitate finance transformation, our teams work with CFOs to help steer the organization’s finance strategy toward creating a value-driven finance organization. We use proven business best practices to accelerate the development of world-class solutions. And to deliver greatest shareholder return, we link these solutions to the overall business strategies of the enterprise.
What is finance transformation?
Finance transformation refers to the changes in processes, systems and organizational culture to better align finance functions with overall business strategies and enable finance to deliver greater value to the company.
How is finance transformation achieved?
Finance transformation requires organizations to implement technology to automate financial workflows. Companies can accelerate financial transformation through the use of data analytics, implementation of cloud-based modern architecture, investment in a next-generation operating model and the acquisition of skilled talent.
What are the benefits of finance transformation?
Finance transformation can optimize costs, improve efficiency and minimize head count. Successful transformation can deliver greater insights into the business through more effective reporting and easier access to data. Companies can also use finance transformation to improve compliance and mitigate risk.