Often considered the most traditional role in a company, the CFO function now faces changing requirements and expectations from external and internal stakeholders created by digitalization: there are new opportunities, different ways of working, and unique business challenges. Today’s CFO function must be able to drive digital transformation and actively contribute to the change of an organization. BearingPoint’s CFO 4.0 Study finds that CFO functions in Finnish companies are still halfway from the ideal in terms of digital maturity, but they are keen to invest more in digital development in the upcoming years.

To understand where European companies stand in the digital transformation of the CFO function, BearingPoint conducted a CFO 4.0 survey directed at CFOs and finance managers around Europe. Finland was one of the six countries where the survey was conducted, alongside Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland. The study sheds light on the characteristics of the CFO function, the technology they are using and the actions they are taking and plan to take to get the most out of digitalization.

CFO 4.0 study in brief

BearingPoint’s CFO 4.0 Study assessed the digital transformation of the CFO function around Europe. The study aimed to provide insights into the current state of digitalization in the CFO function and to broaden the understanding of how CFOs can create value more efficiently through innovative and streamlined processes using disruptive technologies in different business conditions.

The study includes research from Austria, Finland, France, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland. 163 CFOs and finance managers from 7 industry sectors took part in the survey, in which they evaluated the CFO function’s digital maturity in their organization. The survey was conducted in fall 2019.

The research framework

To illustrate the digital maturity level of the CFO function in a company, the study considers digitalization as an accelerator of change that impacts business in three waves.

1. Operational efficiency

Improving the day-to-day work through process streamlining and automation

2. Business partnering and finance target operating model

Providing financial insights for the business using real-time data and self-service visualization tools

3. Business transformation

Reinventing value chains and offering, supporting, and driving the transformation

The analysis was done at the country and industry level and from a digital foundation point of view. The digital foundation consists of strategy, organization, people, technology, and data perspectives, all equally essential elements in the digital transformation of the finance function. Responses were reviewed from telecommunications, technology, financial services, the public sector, manufacturing, retail, energy, chemical, and oil and gas industries.

CFO 4.0 study results

According to the study, CFO functions around Europe understand the strategic impact of digitalization, but the current levels of digital maturity remain underdeveloped in all the countries surveyed. On European level, only 9% of the companies surveyed have positioned themselves to the wave of business transformation, whereas 41% still focus on operational efficiency improvements of the first wave of digitalization. The average digital maturity level of European companies is 4.9 out of 10, which suggests that companies are still halfway from the ideal CFO function. Ideally, the CFO function should be flexible, service-oriented, and focused on supporting and working closely with other business functions.

The below dashboard allows you to filter and view the main results of the study by industry and country.

CFO 4.0 - Digital transformation in the financial function

Key findings - Finland

The field of digitalization is continually improving and developing in Finland. Progress, however, has been slower than perhaps desired. The challenges in linking new technologies, digital strategy, and business needs together is a common problem for many companies.

The study finds that the digital maturity level of the CFO function in Finnish organizations is 5.1 out of 10, slightly above the European-average (4.9). The focus from operational efficiency improvements toward strategic business partnering has accelerated since BearingPoint’s previous CFO study conducted in 2018. Currently, 65% of Finnish CFOs have their focus on serving other business functions, acting as a business partner, and developing a finance target operating model. At the same time, only 3% of the Finnish respondents consider their focus being on business-wide transformation and reinventing value chains and offerings. Moreover, none of the respondents consider their CFO function to be in an ideal target position within the organization.

32%

1. Operational efficiency

65%

2. Business partnering & finance target operating model

3%

3. Business transformation


Finnish CFOs have succeeded in automating manual finance processes and gradually moving the focus toward more value-adding tasks. However, they are struggling to support and drive business transformation in the organization through digital initiatives. Currently, 82% of the CFOs surveyed feel that digitalization is part of the CFO function strategy, but a clear delivery roadmap is lacking. Also, too many priorities and the lack of a clear vision to capitalize on opportunities are key issues constraining a thorough digital transformation in Finnish CFO functions.

The robotization of finance processes is familiar to Finnish CFOs, and 79% have already adopted or are working on the adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology, resulting in the highest adoption rate among the countries in the study. However, business transformation is not only about new technologies forming the way business is managed, but also about a comprehensive change in mindsets. Digitalization must have a higher priority, and strategy and technological architecture need to be clarified to serve external, management, and business needs.

Main differences compared to European-wide research results

Strategy: Digitalization has been considered in strategy, but a clear delivery roadmap is lacking

82% feel that digitalization is part of the CFO function strategy; however, the lack of a clear vision, a roadmap, and prioritization to capitalize on opportunities are among issues constraining digital transformation. Digitalization must have a higher priority, and strategy and technological architecture need to be clarified to serve external, management, and business needs.

Organization: Finland has the lowest adaptivity level of CFO function operations

Over 90% of the Finnish companies surveyed responded that they are not as adaptive in their finance operations and leveraging technologies as they would like to be. As a result, only 15% spend more time on value-adding tasks compared to running core CFO function processes. Extending the responsibilities outside the CFO function increases collaboration between businesses and extends the skillsets of employees.

People: Employees have the skills, but leadership is hesitating

Even though leadership is involved with digitalization efforts, and employees have enough skills to execute the transformation, 56% are uncertain if leadership has the experience and knowledge to lead the digital transformation. Capabilities cannot be utilized or learning supported if leadership does not know how to guide the CFO function.

Would you like more information?

If you want to get more information about this insight please get in touch with our experts who would be pleased to hear from you.

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