Digitalizing Finance in businesses: CEO is a bottleneck

Technology | 07.01.2019

by Anders Fryxell

Only 8 percent of CEOs in Sweden want their Finance Department to spend more time and efforts on IT and digitalization. At the same time, CFOs state that the financial function is far from where they want it to be – in terms of digitalization, automation and Business Intelligence. These are the main findings in a recent report from Azets.

A total of 75 CEOs and 100 CFOs in Sweden were interviewed. It quickly became clear that the CEOs and CFOs have a different perception of the situation within the Finance Department – and what needs to be prioritized in the future. The CFO faces many challenges, especially within strategy and business support. To overcome these issues, they are in the midst of a big change from a traditional to a modern way of working. However – the CEO does not see the need to change.

The CEO does not listen

The report from Azets clearly indicates that IT, digitalization and automation are the biggest challenges for the Finance Department. In fact, automation is at the top of the priority list for the CFO. But the CEO begs to differ. In fact, four out of then CEOs want their financial departments and CFOs to carry on like nothing ever happened. A modest eight per cent of the CEOs want to put more resources into IT and digitalization.

– The CEO does not seem to listen to the CFO. When its leaders fail to realize the value of modernizing the way they handle their financials, Swedish companies are at risk of losing their competitive edge. It will be hard for Finance Departments out there to act as proactive and business supporting functions when they have to deal with inefficient processes and inadequate data, says Anders Fryxell, CEO of Azets in Sweden.

Go big or go home

Almost one out of five CFOs state that their company’s prioritizations have had a dramatic effect on their change-driven journey. We are only half-way towards where we should be, they say.

– The CFOs have realized that they have to «go big or go home», in order for the Finance Department to grow and prosper and really contribute to the company’s success. Which in turn is really hard when the CEO apply the brakes. The company itself ends up as the greatest loser. The Finance Department is absolutely critical in order to improve profitability, make strategic decisions and increase the competitiveness in the ever-changing and strongly competitive world that we live in, Fryxell says.

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About Anders Fryxell

Managing Director, Azets Sweden