Organizations across the world and across industries are working to update operations and processes for a new era characterized by unprecedented levels of risk, uncertainty and volatility. I recently spoke with Jenn Ryu, CFO with RGP, a leading consultancy on business transformation, who offers a bird’s eye view of the overlapping issues faced by companies of all kinds – and by the CFOs who run their finance functions. Throughout the conversation, there was one theme that stood out: the CFO is no longer an observer of business transformation but a leading player in it, and finance chiefs need to step up to that role.
Jeff Thomson: You began your career at RGP with an overhaul of the company’s two-decade-old ERP system and have implemented technology to improve invoice-to-payment cash flow as well as auditing and data analytics. Why is it important for organizations to keep pace with technology, especially in the area of financial planning and analysis (FP&A)? How does technology keep workers engaged and attract new talent to organizations? What have you found to be a key element in successfully overhauling outdated systems, or executing on technology implementations?
Jenn Ryu: Digital transformation and the automation of finance and accounting processes are helping finance teams improve operational efficiency and auditability. We’re seeing more organizations investing in the automation of closing processes to eliminate bottlenecks, provide clearer insights into real-time data intelligence and make the audit process more efficient. CFOs and finance teams are really playing a critical role in driving this change and creating value through the ability to plan and forecast quickly. It has to start with structuring the budget and the financial flows processes in order to build out analytics and forecasting capabilities.