From your CFO to your direct reports, the role of finance and accounting professionals has never been more diverse. Empowered by technology and automation, professionals in these departments are more productive than ever while seeing their department’s influence slowly spread into others.

New Roles in the Finance Department

As we touched on in our blog discussing the decline of account CFOs and why controllers have an increasingly important role in the business, the finance department is increasing in scope. With your CFO making moves to focus on capital markets, equity and debt financing, and externally communicating to the market, your department has taken on new responsibilities as well.

Nearly 40% of finance leaders admit the finance department is becoming more accountable for the business’ success, and because of this, finance has become increasingly important in other departments’ decisions.

Here are just a few areas finance and accounting professionals may want to brush up on:

Information Technology Selection and Governance

Something we discussed in our blog helping controllers make the most out of ERP, you don’t need to know how sausage is made to know the difference between a salami and a bratwurst. Even though you may not need to know how to code or run infrastructure, you need to be able to hold your own when talking tech.

IT Lost Control—Finance Leaders Can Empower the Business

This is because finance has moved into the IT department. IT has less control than ever over the applications needed, the integration management, and the maintenance. In today’s business, professionals can get the software they want more easily than ever, which is why it pays to be in the know.

IT Affects the Bottom Line

Despite losing control, IT is increasingly important on delivering for the bottom line. Whose job is it to care about the bottom line? Finance. Combine these two things and it means that you have more power than ever to leverage IT solutions to improve the bottom line.

IT Risk Management is Still Risk Management

Part of a controller’s role is to address risk management. Though this may traditionally refer to financial risk, in today’s business, IT risk is financial risk.

Finance is built on structure—the entire concept of financial management is a science with the number one goal being stability. Knowing this, the most unexpected, costly, and destabilizing things that can happen to an organization is a data breach. This in turn hurts your bottom line. Lost customer trust results in lost revenue. Lower employee morale increases churn and in turn drives up hiring costs.

Learn more in The Controllers Guide to Hiring an IT Consulting Firm.

Operations Management

Many pundits may argue that the CFO role is declining, but if you look at trends, the role seen less than ever is that of the COO. When many companies make the move to start their CEO succession planning, they begin by transitioning out the role of the COO, instead moving many of the responsibilities to the CEO and the CFO.

Therefore, COOs become CEOs, who in turn split responsibility with CFOs.

Finance’s Role in Digital Transformation

In this, the entire finance department needs to work more closely with operations, and one of the core areas of concern for this is digital transformation. In fact, 70% of CFOs have found themselves leading the digital transformation charge in 2018, increasing investment in these initiatives. 

Finance should be the driver of digital transformation. Again, a change in business model means a change in financial structure, and the controller should… be in control.

Expanding Roles Require Expanding Knowledge

Success is based on breadth and depth. Becoming a well-rounded finance professional requires you to hold your own in a conversation. To make this happen, it pays to understand a bit of everything. At The Controllers’ Council, our goal is to help you expand your skillset. Our articles are designed to help you grasp the concepts needed to do more for their business. Join us.

5 Questions Controllers Should be Asking Their CFOWebinar Tuesday, October 26

As key financial leaders within the organization, Controllers are increasingly tasked with improving the efficiency of operations, implementing new technologies and guiding teams toward paperless workflows. To do this effectively, they need to work closely with their CFOs to drive the organization towards executable strategies that maximize the value brought by investment in technology.