- Almost 70% of CFOs said their finance team spends too much time — more than 60% — on low-value, transactional activities, according to a poll conducted by Auxis Consulting & Outsourcing as part of a CFO Leadership Council webinar last week on the future of finance.
- The poll showed that 52% of CFOs said finance outsourcing is a proven method if done right, while 32% have never outsourced but are open to it.
- The poll also asked about automating traditional accounting functions using robotics process automation (RPA). Most CFOs — 65% — said they haven't made progress implementing RPA yet despite the promise it holds for making their processes more efficient.
Traditional finance department models are becoming largely "ineffective and out of date" and need to be replaced by models that enable them to execute on day-to-day demands while still managing to deliver greater business value, CFOs said.
"Finance executives are now being tasked with providing their business with more information faster, and with greater insights, than ever before," said Eric Liebross, who leads Auxis' Back Office Optimization practice. "Many are struggling with that day-to-day balance."
The competitive labor market for finance talent and the declining relevance of the traditional finance skill set are the two issues CFOs feel least confident in solving, Auxis research showed. Indeed, 91% of finance leaders in the U.S. reported challenges finding skilled accounting professionals, with unemployment in the sector standing below the national average.
Most organizations are managing 83% of their finance and accounting function under a shared services model (45% of respondents) or through outsourcing (38%), the CFO Leadership Council found. "Shared services have become the de facto model for many successful organizations," Liebross said.
Notably, 63% of CFOs shared a belief that, within three years, most of their team's time will be spent on analysis, prediction and decision support rather than accounting, reporting and compliance, marking a substantial shift from the traditional CFO job description.
"Hopefully, the modern CFO [has the tools to] look into why things happen and what [the company] can do about it," Liebross said.