A new survey of finance professionals found many are unprepared to meet the demands for more insights and information, despite ongoing significant transformation efforts already in place. The national survey from Deloitte’s Centre for Controllership and IMA (The Institute of Management Accountants) discovered that 76% of finance professionals confirm their controllership functions have started their transformation journeys but nearly 95% report additional work is needed and admit progress is slow. A further 65% admit their business function isn’t prepared or only somewhat prepared to meet their future demands.
The report “Stepping into the future of controllership: from accounting to finance”, explores the impacts of the pandemic on financial services and how finance professionals can use this period to drive innovation within controllership and generate more value for their businesses.
According to Kyle Cheney, risk and financial advisory partner at Deloitte, a clear lesson from the pandemic is that driving digital functions within controllership is here to stay. Cheney explains that activities previously considered a part of the future of finance, such as data modelling and analytics, are now mainstream parts of the industry. Financial controllers are confident that they need to transform, but this doesn’t change the fact that there are still challenges to overcome on the shift toward an innovative, strategic and digital controllership future. Further data from survey respondents found a mix of responses between the existing and future conditions of controllership, including maturity gaps within vital controllership, enabling and domain areas. Enablers, like governance and compliance, were ranked as the farthest along the maturity continuum by 65% of finance professionals while nearly 50% reported data and analytics to still be in the early stages of maturity.
Similarly, over 50% of respondents identified financial planning and analysis (FP&A) as a dominant area most in need of progress to meet the future demands of the controllership function.
Over 60% of surveyed finance professionals agree that advanced maturity levels, or those considered to be integrated or optimised, will be required across enabling and domain areas to achieve the demands of controllership function in the next few years. The report also highlights actions that finance leaders believe will increase their ability to perform in a more innovative, challenging and increasingly digital era.
Loreal Jile, IMA VP of research and thought leadership and the lead on this study, highlighted that transformation in controllership is more than adopting new technology. It also involves considering how finance teams use that technology to become more strategic partners to the business. Jile explains that the hope is controllers, CFOs, and other finance leaders can use the report as a roadmap to continue progress with their digital plans. The report can enable organisations to structure organisational silos to support intelligent, flexible and more resilient operations capable of managing future industry challenges.