According to the latest Deloitte Quarterly CFO Survey, “CFOs are increasingly shifting away from a focus on balance-sheet repair towards growth. Growth is the top balance-sheet priority for UK corporates and 65% of CFOs say now is a good time to take risk.”
But as minds turn to thoughts of expansion for the first time in many years it is perhaps easy to let down one’s guard and overlook the continuing need for strong financial governance. And it’s not just growth that presents heightened levels of risk – many industry sectors are being buffeted and battered by a re-set economy characterised by rapidly changing business models, the profound impact of digital technologies and a crucial shortage of analytical skills. If ever there was a need for a tight grip on financial governance it is now.
Fascinatingly, the same technologies that are disrupting the competitive landscape are also part of the solution as far as financial governance is concerned. Agile and scalable cloud-based solutions allow the finance function to exert finger-tip control by deploying financial governance where it is needed. Pockets of spreadsheet-bound processes and manual work-arounds are being replaced by automated processes and embedded workflows which not only reduce the cost of compliance, but also improve accessibility and process visibility. And the simplicity of modern cloud-based solutions has reduced the CFO’s reliance on the IT function for routine financial governance tasks enabling the finance function to respond to ever changing regulatory frameworks without major development effort.
Growth and risk are often uneasy bedfellows but in a new era of digital enablement and growth, cloud-based financial governance solutions are putting CFOs back in the driving seat.