Presented by Sage

The changing role of the CFO – What will be expected of future financial leaders

Financial leaders in South Africa will play a vital role in unlocking the potential of digital solutions for their businesses in the future.

This is one of the primary findings in Sage’s latest research report, titled CFO 3.0 – Digital Transformation Beyond Financial Management.

Sage commissioned business technology research firm World Wide Worx to survey 311 senior financial decision-makers from various prominent medium and large businesses in South Africa.

87% of respondents say they have adopted emerging technologies in some form.

The implication of this is significant, given that the digital transformation of a business is conventionally the responsibility of the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

However, the rapid development of technologies like the Cloud, AI, machine learning, and automation has fundamentally changed the finance function.

Sage’s Executive Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Pieter Bensch says the survey shows South African CFOs are now, more than ever, driving strategy in companies and spearheading technology adoption.

How the CFO’s role evolved

While the traditional CFO focused on financial reporting and showing what happened in the past, the CFO 3.0 is a new breed of trailblazing financial decision-maker who leverages the latest digital technologies and data to streamline financial management and grow profit opportunities.

These technologies include robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Don’t get left behind

Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx says their research shows that COVID-19 has helped boost the adoption of these technologies as it forced CFOs of all ages to adapt to a new way of working.

“Once you embrace remote working and managing remote teams, you almost automatically embrace the other tools as well,” he explains.

The ability to engage in continuous audit is one of the most powerful benefits these technologies offer, Goldstuck adds.

“Those organisations that have a view of business performance instantly, at any time, will have a massive advantage over the rest. Any CFO who doesn’t appreciate that advantage is going to be left behind,” he states.

Providing support and expertise to CFOs

Bensch notes that technology companies in South Africa should be focused on supporting CFOs in their digital adoption journey, and that Sage is well equipped to do this.

“Having a global product like Sage Intacct, that’s got trusted expertise, we are confident that we can support CFOs in the CFO 3.0 environment,” Bensch says.

Sage is the global market leader for technology that provides small and medium businesses with the visibility, flexibility and efficiency to manage finances, operations and people.

With its partners, Sage is trusted by millions of customers worldwide to deliver the best cloud technology and support.

Its years of experience means that its colleagues and partners understand how to serve its customers and communities through the good, and more challenging times.

Sage is here to help – with practical advice, solutions, expertise and insight.

Click here to learn more about how Sage’s products and solutions.

Pieter Bensch, Sage
Pieter Bensch, Sage

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The changing role of the CFO – What will be expected of future financial leaders