Digital transformation is CFOs' top business priority
UK finance chiefs say that adopting new digital technology to transform their business will be their top priority over the next five years, according to a new report.
Research by global service provider EY found that more than half (58%) of public sector CFOs said that improving their businesses performance through the use of digital technology was the most important strategic priority for the next five years.
Darra Singh, head of UK government and public sector at EY, said: “The pressures to deliver more with less in the public sector has thrust the role into the spotlight and they are responding to this challenge in different ways.
“This includes the use of technology such as blockchain and sophisticated data analytics. We are seeing quite different profiles and responsibilities emerge when compared to the traditional idea of a public-sector CFO.”
The evolving role of the CFO
The report goes on to highlight how the role of a finance chief has changed over the past five years. 68% of respondents to the survey said they are spending more time on providing analysis and insight to support senior leaders than they were five years ago.
CFOs are also becoming more involved in the business side of the organisations they operate in, with 63% saying they spend more time supporting their organisation’s development and its strategic goals and 53% said they are increasingly taking the lead in developing and defining overall strategy.
Dara said: “Public sector CFOs are adapting to a changing role where they are taking on more responsibility and are becoming an indispensable part of leadership within local authorities, councils and Whitehall.”
A fight for talent
The Big Four firm’s report says that the industry should expect an ‘impending war for talent’ as the required skill set of CFOs expands and organisations race to snatch up the most qualified candidates.
Almost three quarters of finance leaders (74%) agree or strongly agree that organisations are facing a growing talent challenge to find finance leaders who can thrive in this new environment.
Dara said: “While there is an abundance of specialised finance professionals in the private sector, those with Treasury management, corporate finance and procurement expertise can be harder to find in the public sector. Competing for talent, particularly in a budget constrained environment can also pose challenges.”