The empowered enterprise: How CFOs are putting insight at the heart of a purpose and performance-driven business

turning it into actionable insights, but also liberating finance to deliver real value. “We want to drive automation to get more into the analytics so that business leaders can make better decisions,” he says. Fitzpatrick’s discussions with Genpact clients across the world reveal that driving cost savings is now table stakes. “The real differentiation is to free up finance teams’ time to focus on crafting and delivering insight to help the business in a range of areas, from targeting new customers to pricing a deal more effectively.” It’s a transformative idea, and one that resonates with Ilkka Hara – who has been working on his company’s finance journey in two key ways. “Firstly, it’s been about driving efficiency in our operations: that’s about harmonisation and also centralising work wherever possible, in terms of actual countries as well as the various service centres we operate in within those countries. “Secondly, we see good opportunities for automating processes and also, then, improving

the master data framework that we have in place.” Hara suggests trying smaller iterations of new policies first to see how they turn out. “Clearly, from our perspective, we’ve identified where we can see the best opportunities, and for us it’s been about starting with ‘business first’: where do we see value for customers being created and how can we do it better? Ultimately, we see that in our overall processes, there lies a lot of opportunities in the long-run for automation as well as significant further efficiency improvements.” Ultimately, there is no doubt that internal and external changes have to be made before any company can fully and confidently rely on a data- led approach. These changes can be structural, interpersonal and managerial – all must align for a data-led approach to be successful.

Every CFO will recognise that the journey towards a data-driven enterprise will not always be a smooth one, but the opportunity to harness the potency of data to power better decisions across the business is one too enticing to ignore. ●

A question of purpose:

How finance can frame and drive an organisation’s principles and practices

All organisations need to understand and live their purpose – especially now that business is expected to do much more than simply keep shareholders happy. CFOs are increasingly vital to these changes, using data to increase transparency, deliver insight on performance, and enable their companies to take a more ethical approach. With the help of senior finance leaders from across business, Finance Director Europe explores how the CFO can take the lead.

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raditionally, many CFOs might have answered questions about corporate purpose with a simple response: to control costs, increase revenue, manage risks and deliver value to shareholders, owners and investors. However, it’s fair to say that the past decade has seen the emergence of a number of trends that now demand input from the finance function. These questions include: what is long-term value? Who are we ultimately accountable to? What does the company exist for? And how are we developing our people so that they become well-rounded and fulfilled professionals able to make a genuine contribution to the company and beyond?

A defining question It’s a question that Andy Halford of Standard Chartered feels must involve the CFO. “There’s no doubt we’ve moved on from the days when a corporation could just look at itself as a self- contained entity with just a few shareholders and say: ‘Let’s make some money and that is it.’” Nowadays, however, society, customers and employees demand a great deal more from businesses. They are expecting a contribution to local communities through worthwhile employment and sustainable environmental practices such as paying the right level of tax and rooting out bribery

Finance Director Europe /

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