5 Ways Financial Services Finance Leaders can become ‘Finance 4.0’

In Business Management Software, Financial Services by itas

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nobody can deny that the role of the finance leader is changing rapidly and nowhere more so than in the financial services sector. With the development of new technologies, new business models and yes, the changes brought about by the pandemic, the landscape has altered dramatically.

Through all of this a new role has emerged, that of the ‘finance 4.0 leader’. Someone who has moved beyond financial historian and data analyst to financial strategist.

So what can you do to make sure your skills stay up to date and turn yourself into a finance 4.0 leader?

Read on and we’ll give you best 5 tips!

Tip 1 – Find the balance between protector and leader

Traditionally, finance roles have focused on controls, risk and reporting, trying to protect the business and ensure that it complies with legal requirements. However, boards today demand more from their CFOs and there is a significant push towards becoming a true business leader rather than simply a protector. Whilst this is an exciting and welcome development, finance leaders (and especially those in financial services) need to remember that they can’t ignore the risk reduction element of their job.

The key is to strike the delicate balance between the compliance/risk role and the entrepreneurial business leader. We admit this is probably easier said than done, but it is something that has to be worked on nonetheless.

Tip 2 – become a ‘technology futurist’

Automation is a fact of life today and it is a rare finance department that doesn’t have some form of automated process going on in the background.

The opportunities offered by automation mean that a forward-thinking CFO can radically improve the way that their department works, freeing people from the manual tasks that really should be handed over to machines. But to become a truly 4.0 finance leader, the CFO needs to be a leader on technology and not a follower, understanding the opportunities and threats offered by developing tech.

Tip 3 – Live in the future

Back in the day, the job of the finance team was to report the past. This gave the organisation a great understanding of where it had been. Lately, the thrust has been towards real-time reporting, understanding exactly where the business is now. But the 4.0 leader will be living in the future, predicting performance, developments and spotting opportunities before they arise.

Finance is ideally placed to do this, having access to historical data showing trends and outcomes and real-time data that shows where the business is setting off from. Combine there with the advanced forecasting skills that today’s finance staff have and you have a powerful way to add real value.

Tip 4 – develop ‘data assets’

One of the great benefits of new technology, especially in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it provides a treasure trove of data for the finance 4.0 leader to leverage. But what is needed for this to happen is for the finance staff to understand that data is in fact an asset.

It can give insight into customer behaviour, asset utilisation and risk which can combine into a value-creating centre that drives product development.

Tip 5 – deliver insights not reports

The futurist finance leader doesn’t produce reams and reams of paper as a sign of their value to the business. Instead, they provide well-timed insights into the real drivers behind the company.

Rather than forcing executives to plough through a data warehouse full of numbers, the 4.0 leader can condense their insight into a few well-chosen sentences that deliver the importance, value and risks of any particular course of action.

The 4.0 leader understands that when it comes to reporting, less really is more.

The finance 4.0 leader is always evolving

One of the key attributes of the finance 4.0 leader is that whatever their role looks like now, they will have developed it in the future to be something else.

The true futurist looks beyond what is to what could be and finds ways to make that a reality.

By living in the future, developing data assets and using them to deliver insight instead of reports, the finance leader can bring the business along into a proactive and profitable future. 

If you would like to learn more about how itas can help your financial services organisation achieve automation, powerful insights and a profitable future, click here.