BlackLine Blog

March 13, 2024

Rethinking Change: Unlocking the Power of Transformation for the Office of the CFO

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

Hilary O'Brien

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In today's shifting business environment, the ability to adapt and embrace change has become a cornerstone for sustainable success.

Rethinking how your organization manages change is crucial for finance and accounting leaders to see future possibilities and transformative opportunities that will help organizations survive and thrive in times of uncertainty.

Barrier to Change: A Lack of Trust in the Data

Many F&A leaders are concerned about a potential global financial crisis affecting their business, and accessing and analyzing financial data in real-time is critical for responding to disruption. In addition, there are worries about cybersecurity and the disruptive forces of technology.

Organizations must translate these concerns into actionable strategies to navigate these events and emerge stronger. To do this, companies have to be able trust their financial data so they can make the smartest and fastest business decisions possible.

Unfortunately, in a recent survey of 1,300+ F&A professionals, 42% of respondents do not entirely trust their data, and a mere 2% expressed complete confidence in their organization’s ability to deliver real-time cash flow visibility.

How can we improve these statistics?

Financial automation and transformation can unlock organizational value and increase transparency and trust—the challenge is deciding where to begin and how to develop and execute an achievable plan.

Build a Business Case for Change

More than 75% of finance leaders agree access to the right software and technology is critical for F&A teams to achieve their goals. Yet, securing budget and approval remains a tall task, and getting buy-in to start your transformation is the first of many hurdles. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Focus on what matters most to leadership: ROI may convince F&A managers of the effectiveness of an automation upgrade, but top executives want to see the strategic benefits to the business. Be forward-looking and go beyond ROI to determine the upper-level needs of the business. Consider your organization’s maturity, structure, and corporate personality.

  • Seek feedback: Advocates for change should seek out constant feedback. This will help to identify flaws in assumptions and anticipate questions from upper management.

  • Keep it simple: Good positioning is concise and clear and creates an effective proposal to upper management. Business cases should be multi-faceted but not overly complex. Qualitative factors and tying your position to the company’s strategic objectives are equally important.

Pay Attention to Leading Practices

Digital change and transformation have been proven to deliver significant benefits, but the keys to success are in the preparation and being smart with the ways you organize and sequence the strategy and work plans.

  • Create clear goals: Your strategy and corresponding business case should have clear goals, and they should be informed by benchmarks of similar companies in the affected finance processes.

  • Follow leading practices: Every company is unique, of course, but all companies share certain fundamental characteristics. Once a company realizes this, it’s able to benefit by looking at, and emulating, industry leading practices.

  • Leverage the cloud: Too many companies think that they can develop their own applications. The problem is they first must build the applications, and then they must maintain and upgrade them. Then, at some point they start to fall behind and it’s nearly impossible to catch up.

  • Unify your data: Data analytics are growing in popularity as a tool for business planning, but analytics are only effective when they’re based on data that’s harmonized—unified—so that all data uses common, standardized naming and formatting conventions.

Leverage Technology

Finance transformation initiatives are often focused on applying automation to unlock accounting efficiency. To achieve success, every level of the organization must be engaged and embrace digitization rather than fight it.

BlackLine’s industry-leading solutions and AI-powered innovation enable F&A professionals to streamline back-office processes, elevate how they work, and increase their impact on their organization.

BlackLine allows F&A teams to deliver incremental capabilities that enhance visibility, automation, and control. The right technology will allow you to explore top strategies for addressing complexities and challenges across the office of the CFO with achievable change.

Finance Transformation Series

Ready to dive deeper into these topics and more? Join us at a BlackLine Finance Transformation Series in Atlanta or New York to interact directly with BlackLine experts and F&A leaders. We’ll delve into the dynamic realm of change management and its pivotal role in the evolving landscape of the Office of the CFO!

About the Author


Hilary O'Brien