Agile Finance Reimagined Reimagining Finance For The New Normal

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Agile Finance ReimaginedReimagining financefor the new normal

Disclaimer: For information about obtaining permission to use this material other than for personal use, please All other rights are hereby expressly reserved. The information provided in this publication isgeneral and may not apply in a specific situation. Legal advice should always be sought before taking any legal action basedon the information provided. Although the information provided is believed to be correct as of the publication date, be advisedthat this is a developing area. The Association, AICPA and CIMA cannot accept responsibility for the consequences of its usefor other purposes or other contexts.The information and any opinions expressed in this material do not represent official pronouncements of or on behalf ofthe AICPA, CIMA or the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. This material is offered with theunderstanding that it does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional services or advice. If legal advice or otherexpert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.The information contained herein is provided to assist the reader in developing a general understanding of the topics discussedbut no attempt has been made to cover the subjects or issues exhaustively. While every attempt to verify the timeliness andaccuracy of the information herein as of the date of issuance has been made, no guarantee is or can be given regarding theapplicability of the information found within to any given set of facts and circumstances.ii Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

Contents2Increasing resiliency and growth12 How to turbocharge the role of FP&A3 Agile Finance: Reimagining financefor the new normal14 How to build talent to meet the new needsof finance4 Setting the stage for reimagination16 Next steps for businesses6 Finance’s new normal:A value-first approach17 About the Agile Finance Reimagined Series17 About the Agile Finance research7 Making the shift to automation8 Oracle’s vision for finance automation:The Finance Continuum10 Planning for uncertainty: Performancemanagement under COVID-191

Increasing resiliency and growthNo crisis has been as challenging in recent memory as the COVID-19 pandemic,which has severely tested the strength of corporations and the business guidelinesunder which they operate. Even before the coronavirus, CFOs had begun designingmore agile, resilient organizations with higher levels of digitization to better equiptheir finance teams to deal with today’s rapid pace of change. That charter hasbeen accelerated as finance leaders realize the limitations of outdated platformsin helping their companies innovate their way out of crisis and move to equiptheir employees with the digital tools they need to keep operations running.To support this effort, the Association of International Certified ProfessionalAccountants (AICPA and CIMA ) is producing Agile Finance Reimagined,a five-part webcast and white paper series offering CFOs practical advice onhow to increase resiliency and growth not just in finance, but also in the linesof business that rely on finance to guide the way forward, including supply chainoperations and customer experience. The series includes guest speakers fromMcKinsey & Company, who joined to share knowledge and insights from thefirm’s body of research on the novel coronavirus and its implications for business.2 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

Agile Finance: Reimaginingfinance for the new normalThe third webcast in the Agile Finance Reimagined series,entitled “Reimagining finance for the new normal,” wasbroadcast in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia,Africa and Latin America during the week ofJuly 13, 2020, and was listened to by 2,200 financeprofessionals. The webcast identified the impact ofcontinuous process automation within finance functionsand the new digital skills finance professionals needto thrive in a digital economy, and examined howcross-functional collaboration in a tightly networkedorganization can improve business partnering.Joining the Association’s managing director of CGMALearning, Education and Development, Ash Noah (CPA,CGMA, FCMA) on the webcast were Michele Tam, asenior expert and associate partner of McKinsey’sCorporate Business Functions; Ivgen Guner, executivevice president of Global Business Finance, Oracle; andChristina Kite, vice president of Global Business Strategyand Analytics, Oracle.“Even before COVID-19, you were seeing companies reimagining financeto adapt to this new norm, to this agile way of working. The pandemic hassimply added fuel to the fire.”Ash Noah, CPA, CGMA, FCMAManaging director of CGMA Learning, Education and DevelopmentAssociation of International Certified Professional Accountants3

Setting the stage for reimaginationThe inaugural webcast in the series, held in May 2020,examined how CFOs and their teams can navigatethe COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, it focused on howfinance leaders can boost the resiliency of theirfinance organizations and return their businessesto scale, mapping progress on a five-stage cycleMcKinsey developed:Resolve — The organization addresses the immediatechallenges COVID-19 represents to its workforce,customers, technology and business partners.Resilience — The organization handles near-term cashmanagement challenges and broader resiliency issuesas a result of virus-related shutdowns.Return — The organization draws up a plan to returnthe business to scale after shutdown orders are lifted.Reform — The organization develops a detailedunderstanding of how the regulatory and businessenvironments may shift as a result of COVID-19 and along-term plan for adapting to these changes.In a poll conducted during the first webcast in May,a majority of respondents identified themselves asbeing in either the resilience phase (39%) or the returnphase (30%). Only 16% said they were in the reimaginephase. In mid-July, when polled again during the thirdwebcast, the number of respondents in the return phasedropped to 21% while the number in the reimaginephase rose 8-percentage points to 24%. This indicatesthat organizations are moving out of recovery and arefocused on finding new and innovative ways to drivebusiness success in the new normal.Reimagination — The organization envisions the“next normal,” including what a discontinuous shiftlooks like and implications to guide how the institutionshould reinvent.4 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

Setting the stage for reimaginationFigure 1: Based on the McKinsey framework where would you map your company today (as of July 2020)39%-534%32%33%28%28%26%-924%22%21%14% 415%19%23% 815%10%10% 1ResolveResilienceReturnReimagine6%5%6%Reform All All in May 2020 North America Europe Asia5

Finance’s new normal:A value-first approachWhile the global impact of COVID-19 is still evolving, thismuch is clear: finance functions have been forced todeliver more value to the business, beyond simply drivingdown costs. “We are seeing that shift from financebeing focused on efficiency to effectiveness,” said theAssociation’s Noah. “Whereas unit costs used to be thekey metric, more organizations are transitioning toward avalue-first approach.”How can finance organizations successfully make thisshift? “Finance leaders need to think and act across allfive of the horizons using a team-of-teams approach,” saidMcKinsey’s Tam during the third webcast. “Start by creatinga nerve center that centralizes thinking and expertiseacross the organization to plan and execute against all fivehorizons, as opposed to having resources siloed.”“We believe that leaders, especiallyin finance organizations, need tothink and act across all five of thehorizons using a team-of-teamsapproach. Start by creating a nervecenter that centralizes thinking andexpertise across the organizationto plan and execute against all fivehorizons, as opposed to havingresources siloed.”Automation is a key driver of this transition, freeing upfinance to reimagine how it will support new businessmodels and ways of working in a post-COVID-19 world.Tam cited McKinsey’s 2018 CFO Survey, which showedthat a very high percentage of finance activities areautomatable. The survey found that by automatingtransactional, rule-based tasks such as generalaccounting operations, cash disbursement and revenuemanagement, employees have more time to focus onless predictive activities, including external relations andbusiness development, as well as the strategic portionsof financial planning and analysis (FP&A), which rely oninterpersonal relationships and human intelligence.To empower their teams to incorporate automationacross the business, finance leaders should embraceand champion digital technologies and the benefits theybring, Tam noted during the webcast. This isn’t possibleto accomplish in a vacuum, however. Implementing evenincremental improvements requires investment, time andbuy-in at the organizational level.During the webcast, Tam also advised CFOs to considerprioritizing quick wins while developing long-term plansfor how digitization can transform their organizations. Thisincludes pursuing activities that add clear-cut, short-termvalue first in order to encourage employee adoption beforeinvesting in long-term automated solutions.Michele TamAssociate partner, Corporate Business FunctionsMcKinsey & Company6 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

Making the shift to automationAccording to McKinsey’s Tam, there are two main shiftscompanies can make in order to leverage automation toits fullest:Shift #1: Adopt an agile finance operating model“We’re starting to see leading organizations move awayfrom the traditional three-part operating model,” Tamobserved during the webcast, a format that typicallyconsists of transactional activities within sharedservices, centers of excellence for higher expertiseactivities, and teams of FP&A staff embedded withinindividual business units.In its place, some organizations are transitioningtoward an agile operating model, which allows financestaff to tackle projects using shared resources. This issupported by automating transactional tasks across theorganization, reducing the need for finance staff to focuson rote, repetitive work. “What might have been 50% offinance staff in the past starts to become much smaller,in terms of the number of finance employees that areinvolved,” Tam said.Agile finance organizations are then moving moreactivities formerly owned by siloed business unit FP&Ainto centers of expertise in areas such as revenue,analytics, forecasting, expense management and evenbalance sheet and liquidity management, to allow thoseskill sets to be deployed and accessed as needed anddriving improved consistency across the enterprise forapproaches to these activities. Organizations are thenshifting the remaining business unit FP&A resources toleave just a thin layer of “finance value leaders” dedicatedto a single business unit and moving toward developinga pool of FP&A “problem solvers” who can be allocatedto work on high-priority projects across the enterpriseas needed.Shift #2: Build finance capabilities for the digital ageAs organizations change, so too do the skills required ofemployees. As more teams adopt a digital-first approach,they should hire for and foster the following foundationalskills, all of which are predicated on the ability to balancefinance acumen with technological ability:1. Shaping value creation: The ability to seamlessly useand interpret data analytics, generate business insightsand shape strategy.2. E nsuring high financial performance and economichealth: The ability to lead, set a clear agenda andinfluence business partners to select courses of actionthat align with the organization’s goals. This skill setrequires an understanding of the various performancelevers within an organization in order to own itsbusiness model.3. M anaging multiple stakeholders and processes: Theability to manage multiple stakeholders across anorganization through a horizontal management structuredrives process excellence and understanding theavailable data and tools that exist within various units.7

Oracle’s vision for finance automation:The Finance ContinuumThe Finance Continuum is a Finance Maturity modelbeing developed by Oracle that allows companies toassess their current state and, based on dimensions ofmaturity, move towards a desired state of technology andcapability. Once in this state, organizations can harnessand analyze a myriad of available data points (from worldeconomic indicators to information on social media toassets from the Internet of Things) and then generateactionable insights to inform business decisions on anear real-time basis.The approach combines business operations, financialdata and management reporting to enable businesses tomove “at a speed that we’ve never seen before,” Oracle’sKite noted on the webcast. For COVID-19, the approachcould help predict disruptions in the supply chain andprovide finance leaders with possible actions to take inresponse. “Even though they may not be able to save thequarter, can they look out ahead to the next quarter or thefull year and really help the organization avoid that type ofrisk?” Kite said.Figure 2: Tomorrow: The Finance Continuum8 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

Oracle’s vision for finance automation: The Finance Continuum“[These] transactions are being done by the machine,”Kite continued. “The use of AI, machine learning andother technologies help enable what we call touchlesstransactions. When less time is being spent in theaccounting area, more time can be spent on forecastingand being that scout for the business.” Finance teams,in other words, move from reporters to translators and,finally, decision-makers and change agents – roles thatextend from internal operations to external actions.An executive sponsor of the Finance Continuum projectat Oracle, Guner believes the model can take evensophisticated finance teams to the next level, movingthem from strategic advisers to co-pilots whoco-create enterprise value. At this next level, finance istruly making the decisions that drive better outcomesfor the business.While the investment is substantial, so are the benefits:Oracle now takes 12 days to close its books and reportearnings. Thanks to narrative reporting, automatedreconciliations and other transactional capabilities, theorganization is moving toward a one-day close cycle,“which is basically an automated close,” Guner said.“When less time is being spent in the accounting area, more time can bespent on forecasting and being that scout for the business.”Christina KiteVice President, Global Business Strategy and AnalyticsOracle9

Planning for uncertainty: Performancemanagement under COVID-19As the pandemic continues to affect the globaleconomy, FP&A organizations have realized previousways of planning and forecasting aren’t workingin today’s fast-moving environment. According toresearch from McKinsey on performance managementunder COVID-19, FP&A organizations should considerinstitutionalizing some of the strategies the crisis mayhave forced them to adopt: Shifting to shorter planning cycles Increasing emphasis on scenario planning, whichincludes understanding underlying business drivers More frequent reviews of KPIs and a deeper analysisof trigger points that indicate a change, either positiveor negative The use of zero-based budgeting models for betterresource reallocation Empowering FP&A to act as a sentinel for recoveryand resilience Implementing automation and empowering financeteams to assume the role of strategy partners andvalue managersWebcast participants were polled on which of thesestrategies they had implemented or were consideringadopting as a result of COVID-19. The top three strategiesidentified were: Increasing the emphasis on scenario planning ofunderlying business drivers (23%) E xploring automation to free up time for finance to bestrategy partners and value managers (21%) More frequent reviews of KPIs and trigger points withgreater frequency (18%)More than 17% of responses indicated these strategieswere not implemented or adopted to date.Oracle’s Guner shared how her organization had alreadyembraced many of McKinsey’s strategies to turbochargethe FP&A organization, using Cloud ERP, EPM andAnalytics to standardize forecast models and automatereporting using consistent and automated baseline data.That automation effort left the company well situatedwhen COVID-19 hit, allowing Guner and her team todeliver daily updates and forecasts to management forrapid crisis decision-making.“We have taken the planning cycle from a linear approachto continuous forecasting and planning scenarios,”Oracle’s Guner said. “Business planning is now anintegrated part of our entire forecasting process.” Theresult is a more accurate forecast by removing thebias through a data-driven approach, which allowsorganizations to manage risks and opportunities better,as well as provide more transparency and controls.“We have taken the planningcycle from a linear approachto continuous forecasting andplanning scenarios. Businessplanning is now an integrated partof our entire forecasting process.”Ivgen GunerExecutive Vice President, Global Business FinanceOracle10 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

Planning for uncertainty: Performance management under COVID-19Figure 3: Which strategies are you implementing now or considering?23%21%18%Increase emphases onscenario planning ofunderlying business driversExplore automation tofree up time for finance tobe strategy partners andvalue managersMore frequent reviews ofKPIs and trigger points17%9%9%4%None implemented yetBuild zero-basedbudgeting modelsfor better resourcereallocationPermanent shift to shorterplanning cyclesEmpower FP&A to act as asentinel for recovery andresilienceNote: The percentages in the chart denote the percentage of totalresponses, rather than the percentage of respondents who selecteda given item. Participants could select any number of items.11

How to turbocharge the role of FP&ACOVID-19 has thrown the world into uncertainty. Inresponse, businesses should convene agile teams ofproblem-solvers who can work across the organization.“Really try to steer those scarce analytical, strategic,problem-solving resources and skill sets to the prioritiesthat matter,” McKinsey’s Tam noted during the webcast.“This is the critical time to make sure that you’ve gotthose skills in the right places.”When financial acumen is in short supply, the FP&A teamshould reach out to others within the organization whopossess relevant skill sets, including leaders in adjacentfunctions such as operations and marketing who mighthave previously spent time in FP&A.Given the uncertain labor market, this may even be thetime for companies to hire additional FP&A leaders.“There’s no substitute for actually investing in FP&Acapabilities,” Tam noted during the webcast. “Thecompanies that really want to get it right need toprioritize FP&A talent development higher on the list oforganization priorities.” Tam says this will generate theappropriate support for making decisions in both goodtimes and in times of crisis.“The companies that really want toget it right need to prioritize FP&Atalent development higher on the listof organization priorities.”Michele TamAssociate Partner, Corporate Business FunctionsMcKinsey & CompanyAs part of the poll during the third webcast, theAssociation asked participants which qualitative skillswere being prioritized to help their FP&A teams raise theirgame in the digital age. Responses were split almostevenly: 25% cited the need to understand the capability oftechnology and how it can help reimagine FP&A 24% cited a deep understanding of the business and itsstrategic principles, and how the organization createsreturns for shareholders 23% cited an understanding of how to interpret andpresent data accurately and persuasively12 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

How to turbocharge the role of FP&AFigure 4: As automation takes hold in finance, which qualitative skills are you prioritizing to help your FP&A teamsraise their game in the digital age?25%24%23%Understanding thecapability of technologyand how it can helpreimagineDeep understanding ofthe business, its strategicprinciples, and how theorganization createsreturns for shareholdersUnderstanding of howto interpret and presentdata accurately andpersuasively16%12%The ability to managechange and understand theimplications of that changeAbility to lead the case forchange and create trustwith senior management13

How to build talent to meet the new needsof financeCo-creating enterprise value requires a range of diverse,future-facing skills. While these can be acquired throughhiring, they can also be fostered internally. Oracle, forexample, has developed a Global Business FinanceTalent Academy to upskill its teams but remains in theminority when it comes to institutionalizing finance skilldevelopment. According to the poll conducted duringthe webcast, 62% of respondents said they either hadno training programs or very limited programs in place.While 32% said they had some resources established, theynoted these resources were insufficiently robust. Only 6%characterized their skill-building program as mature.Figure 5: Where are you today in terms of building or implementing future skills for finance professionals?41%32%21%6%Early days — limitedprograms availableHave some programsavailable butinsufficiently robustHave nothing implementedHave a very matureacademy program in place14 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

How to build talent to meet the new needs of financeTo provide webcast listeners with a playbook, Oracle’sGuner shared the four key skill sets that FP&Aorganizations should develop to deliver better outcomesfor the business and respond more effectively to today’sunpredictable times:1. Broad expertise across multiple functionsAn understanding of the systems and leversthat make up a business function, including HR,marketing, operations, IT and product development.Understanding how units impact one another enablesleaders to visualize how a single decision can impactthe entire organization.3. Strategic thinkingThe ability to see and help senior executives understandan organization’s competitive advantages and howto capitalize on them. This could include building adecision-making framework for determining whichinvestments, experiments and risks make good strategicbets, versus those that should be passed over.4. Visionary leadershipThe ability to articulate a compelling and inspiringvision for the future, assemble influential stakeholders,address resistance to change and build momentum.2. Deep technology expertiseExpertise in both the financial and IT disciplines.Individuals in this rule must be “digital technologists,”Guner said, with a deep understanding of thetechnology tools available to them.15

Next steps forbusinessesIdentify where your team sits on the Finance Continuum.What stage are you in, and what changes — to culture,workforce skills, internal processes — are required tolevel up?Leverage automation to create efficiencies and freeup staff focus on insights and analysis. Automationenables progression on the continuum, freeing upemployees to focus on high-value work. Do an audit ofoperations: How can technology streamline the processby transitioning manual tasks to touchless transactions?Hire people with the right skill sets and invest intraining. Again, change in an organization starts andends with its people. Consider the skill sets your teamneeds not just to perform today but to thrive in the future,and then develop hiring and upskilling programs thatreflect those skill sets.These are subtle, complex calculations. To helporganizations identify candidates who meet theserequirements or upskill current employees, theAssociation has developed the open-source CGMACompetency Framework. This resource was developedwith feedback from thousands of finance leadersworldwide and provides a roadmap to help leadersdevelop the technical, business, people, leadership anddigital skills required for the future. The CGMA FinanceLeadership program is based on this framework andoffers an online, personalized learning experience forfinance professionals. As you progress through thelearning, the core competencies transition from technicalproficiencies to the business and leadership expertiseneeded to become a strategic finance leader.Figure 6: CGMA Competency sLeadershipskillsPeopleskills16 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

About theAgile FinanceReimagined SeriesAbout the AgileFinance researchAgile Finance Reimagined is a five-part webcast andwhite paper series brought to you by Oracle and theAssociation of International Certified ProfessionalAccountants (AICPA & CIMA). You can access thefull white paper series and on-demand videos of thewebcasts on the Agile Finance webpage.On “Reimagining finance for the new normal”webcast, broadcast in July 2020, attendees wereasked to submit responses to four pulse questions.Each question garnered between 1,099 to 1,134responses. The following is a breakdown of the 1,134respondents:Figure 7: The following is a breakdown of the 1,134 respondents689257656268Other accounting andfinance professionalsVice presidents, financedirectors, chief accountingofficers or financial controllersUnited States and CanadaEurope1493912981CFOsCEOsAsiaAfrica and Latin America17

About the Association of International CertifiedProfessional AccountantsThe Association of International Certified ProfessionalAccountants (the Association) is the most influentialbody of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants(CIMA) to power opportunity, trust and prosperityfor people, businesses and economies worldwide. Itrepresents 650,000 members and students in publicand management accounting and advocates for thepublic interest and business sustainability on current andemerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources,the Association advances the reputation, employabilityand quality of CPAs, CGMAs and accounting and financeprofessionals globally.About OracleThe Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integratedapplications for Sales, Service, Marketing, HumanResources, Finance, Supply Chain and Manufacturing,plus Highly Automated and Secure Generation 2Infrastructure featuring the Oracle AutonomousDatabase. For more information about Oracle(NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal


aicpa-cima.comoracle.comFounded by AICPA and CIMA, the Association of International Certified ProfessionalAccountants powers leaders in accounting and finance around the globeCopyright 2020, Oracle and/or its affiliates.All rights reserved. Oracle and Java are registeredtrademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.Other names may be trademarks of theirrespective owners. 2020 Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. All rights reserved.Association of International Certified Professional Accountants is a trademark of the Associationof International Certified Professional Accountants and is registered in the US, the EU and othercountries. The Globe Design is a trademark owned by the Association of International CertifiedProfessional Accountants. 2006-1967620 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal

6 Agile Finance Reimagined: Reimagining finance for the new normal While the global impact of COVID-19 is still evolving, this much is clear: finance functions have been forced to deliver more value to the business, beyond simply driving down costs. "We are seeing that shift from finance being focused on efficiency to effectiveness," said the

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