The regularly published "CFO 4.0" surveys take the pulse of digital transformation in the CFO function in European companies - and for the first time also in Asian companies. We show the status quo, the challenges, and the opportunities for organisations in different countries, industries, and sizes to successfully cope with this megatrend.

The CFO 4.0 Study 2021 Part 1, the first of two publications, shows the results of our CFO 4.0 Study 2021 regarding the status of current digital maturity and future digital transformation.

The new study makes it clear that the COVID 19 pandemic has once again accelerated the digital transformation in the CFO sector. For instance, the current company figures show that digital CFO innovations at companies are increasing significantly compared to the times before the pandemic. Companies are now integrating this progress into their strategies and taking their benefits from it despite the challenging and tense business and market situation.

Digitisation wave and maturity of CFO activities on the rise

The study shows that many companies have reached the third and highest wave of digitisation of their CFO tasks. In addition, 23 per cent of finance professionals now use their time for value-added services – which are 11 per cent more than before the pandemic.

The average digital maturity level has also improved in comparison. Besides the use of digital technologies, an ideal maturity level also includes the performance and capabilities that improve CFO processes and performance, enabling a greater number of value-creating services.

Gillian O'Sullivan, Country Leader for BearingPoint Ireland

COVID-19 created unprecedented stress to the finance organisation, which operated fully remotely for the first time while managing uncertainty and risk on a wide scale. BearingPoint's CFO 4.0 study shows that Finance teams performed well in this context, and, even more, they grasped the opportunity to accelerate their transformation towards a faster, smarter and leaner organisation.

Gillian O'Sullivan, Country Leader for BearingPoint Ireland

Various factors have an impact on transformation

While a lack of clear strategy and vision are no longer a major threat, a very heterogeneous IT architecture of companies often poses a greater risk. Moreover, too many priorities at the same time and a lack of exchange between individual departments are also a major challenge.

In general, however, the transformation of companies is accelerating thanks to digital solutions that support companies in financial analyses and improve collaboration.

Martin Deere, Head of Finance and Risk

Digital transformation includes hard factors such as the introduction of state-of-the-art software solutions on the one hand and soft factors such as skill improvement of staff and change management on the other. The former must go hand in hand with the latter.

Martin Deere, Head of Finance and Risk

Key Results:

  • 76% Strategy: agree or strongly agree that digitalisation is an integral part of their CFO strategy
  • 87% Organisation: express confidence in their CFO function’s readiness to respond to and leverage digital trends
  • 54%: People: believe their employees have sufficient skills to execute the organisation’s digital transformation
  • 56%: Technology: Have already adopted or are currently working to adopt Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  • 49%: Data: Agree that better use of high-quality data is one of the most important benefits of digitalisation

Interested? The entire study “CFO 4.0“ is available in the download area.

CFO 4.0 study in brief

The results of our CFO 4.0 Study 2021 are based on survey data gathered through an online questionnaire from companies across Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland and Southeast Asia. CFOs and other key members of the CFO function were invited to participate in the survey. Overall, we received 256 completed questionnaires. Data collection was conducted from mid-April 2021 until the end of June 2021.

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