Your Digital Transformation Path as a CFO

Readiness for a digital future is a leadership essential for every CFO. In a changing world, digital transformation is not just desirable but essential for every business. Driving purposeful and confident change in a critical business function such as finance requires clear perspective, expert insight, and excellent benchmarks of success. Follow six simple steps.

Digital Transformation
Listen to this inspiring discussion with our experts Frans Post and Dr. Elizabeth Teracino.

Digital transformation – A six-step journey for CFOs

Are you ready to take the journey to your digital future? Take the opportunity to blend business process change that can deliver greater value and meet increasing expectations.

To stay on top of this important process, visit this website on a regular basis to find out about new and valuable insights from experts and customers alike.

Key steps for CFOs on their digital transformation journey

1: Identify your transformation vision

Your first step is to identify why you’re transforming and what you hope to achieve. This is the foundational element that will direct the rest of your steps.

Develop your CFO vision
Develop your CFO vision

2: Define your role as a CFO

Consider, explore and define how your CFO role is transforming, and what you hope to influence.

Evolve your CFO role
Evolve your CFO role

3: Map your digital journey

Develop a vision and create your own map.

Start your CFO path
Start your CFO path

4: Review your transformation readiness

By reviewing the digital maturity, you’ll be able to see how far along your business already is in leveraging digital capabilities.

Assess your digital maturity
Assess your digital maturity

5: Examine analytical capabilities

This is the point where you examine any current gaps in your digital infrastructure so you can choose technology that fills those gaps.

CFO analytics needs
CFO analytics needs

6: Build your digital transformation roadmap

Use the insights and information from Steps 1-5 to build an actionable and transformative governance roadmap.

Create your transformation roadmap
Create your transformation roadmap

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Step 1: Identify your CFO vision

With new responsibilities and roles for finance leadership emerging, the first step is one of direction setting, as you identify why you need to transform finance and outline your overarching aims.


Unlock a different future

Digital transformation lets you reimagine how your business works. It offers new ways to use technology, people, and processes to transform how finance operates and steers the organisation to thrive. It means laying the first foundation by digitising existing expensive, manual, paper-based, information. Then using technology to digitalise processes across finance, supply chain, operations, and more.

With data at the heart of informed decisions, CFOs armed with accurate, consistent, and complete data can achieve more. That has always been hampered by data silos, spreadsheet limitations, and challenges in collecting data swiftly and accurately.

Finance functions that embrace cloud-based finance and performance management can escape many legacy issues and for the first time gain more consistent, centralised, and current data. Powerful analytics will power faster, smarter decisions, while platforms streamline and accelerate practicalities of planning, forecasting, and reporting. Finance can flourish, while more collaborative and flexible working environments help to attract and retain talented finance professionals.

Three essential elements for a modern-day CFO to transform

Digital transformation is so much more than plugging in technology to support or speed up financial planning, reporting and other business processes.

  • 01Physical changes

    Physical changes offer an escape from the pain and cost of collecting, exporting, and reporting data via spreadsheets and forms, and transform how operational and transactional data is collected in the supply chain and field. Migration away from a manual world brings new opportunities through robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

  • 02Cognitive insights and opportunities

    Cognitive insights help to enhance and augment how you think and make decisions. Sophisticated data analytics can help you forecast, plan, and understand risk in new ways, while AI and machine learning add new levels of understanding and forward visibility that can power new financial insights or reveal new underlying trends.

  • 03Cultural opportunities

    Cultural opportunities come from empowering and enabling people. Flexible, collaborative, and seamless remote working helps build a good team culture and effective manager support, while freeing experts and specialists from frustrating manual tasks so they can contribute more value. Some jobs may change, but others are created – finance data science talent is already in high demand.

CFO Studio

Digitale transformation & the finance function

Oracle and Alex van Groningen organized an episode of CFO Studio together. With studio guests Jeroen de Swart CFO at Sunweb Group, Robert de Gier CFO at Centogene and Peter Fleischmann VP & EMEA Pillar Sales Leader for ERP/EPM they talked about the opportunities to work smarter and create more value. To continue to meet the increasing expectations of customers and employees, lagging behind is not an option. That is why many companies are radically changing their strategy, business model and business processes and are investing more in digital transformation than the year before. Would you like to learn more?

Step 2: Define your role as a CFO

The next step is one of discovery. Consider and explore how your CFO role is transforming, and what you hope to influence. Big opportunities lie in new responsibilities and new areas of scope, of course. Yet benchmarking your position and determining where you want these changes to begin and to end is essential before you move ahead. It is a foundation step that will help direct and shape the following stages.


Driving change - the CFO role

As a functional and strategic leader the CFO must play an active role to catalyse and drive any effective change initiative where finance is at the heart of transformation. Digital technology is only an enabler – the direction and purpose must be set from the very top to unlock all the potential time efficiencies and automation opportunities.

You may have many questions in your mind. Yet, others have had these too, so below you will find some answers and a little advice to help you resolve them.

In this powerful global CFO Now survey Accenture identified the role of Catalyst of Digital Strategy as one of three new driving roles emerging for CFOs beyond 2020, which also span economic guardianship and architects of business value.

The CFO as chief storyteller

Blog from a Senior PwC Advisor

Your CFO role is evolving constantly – and on the digital journey you must lead from the front. Explore these thought provoking insights from a senior PwC advisor about how data and digital technologies are enabling emergence of a new ‘Chief Storyteller’ role for CFOs as they adopt an increasingly strong driving role in the future of their organisations.



Digital CFOs

Interested to hear more about the digital journey of other CFOs?

Oracle recently collaborated on two podcasts with CFOs about digital transformation. We asked the Peter van Wouwe, the CFO from company Lamb Weston / Meijer and Geert Beullens CFO from comapny ASML what their drivers are behind their digital transformation? Where are their companies now? What are the bumps one encounters? And what is the position of the finance organization in all this?

In the first podcast we interviewed Peter van Wouwe, the CFO from company Lamb Weston / Meijer. Peter shares his story about the importance of digitale transformation and how Lamb Weston/ Meijer did their digital transformation.
Listen to podcast with Lamb Weston/ Meijer

In the second podcast we interviewed Geert Beullens from comapny ASML. We talked about the finance transformation from ASML. ASML is in a quite innovative sector. How does this translate into innovation in the finance function? And looking at scenario planning, bringing together data from suppliers & customers and compliance. How does ASML approach these themes to achieve greater efficiency?
Listen to podcast with ASML

McKinsey Report

The Evolution of the CFO

McKinsey report

CFOs are playing an increasingly pivotal and strategic role. The Evolution of the CFO from McKinsey explores how new and existing challenges can be balanced and managed in a digital age.


What the star CFOs of digital transformation have in common

The most successful digital transformation programmes have four important things in common. Strong CFO leadership is a critical success factor in achieving:

  • Clear, consistent, ongoing alignment within the C-Suite of the visions and goals for all aspects of digital transformation of the business.
  • Unwavering dedication to eliminating any siloed mindsets, along with the assumptions, structures, and processes that maintain that thinking.
  • Unrelenting sense of urgency to drive change at an accelerated pace, informed by real-time data analytics and insights that enable agile, efficient change.
  • Visionary senior leadership that steps up to the executive stewardship role, who speaks the language of every function or business area – almost no-one is as equipped as the CFO in this regard.

CFO toolkit

My CFO role has changed, but others in the organisation have not yet recognised that – what should I do?

You can demonstrate that you do far more than perform financial functions by finding opportunities to show the value of analytical metrics and insights to enhance understanding – instead of simply evangelising the idea of communicating differently.

In an organisation that is divided by silos of activity and information, how can I drive change?

Digital transformation can bridge gaps across the whole organisation and finance can play a key role. It already touches every aspect and engages with every manager, so you will help simply by being focused on transforming the finance function and enabling data transparency.

How do I align my financial vision for the organisation with the wider digital transformation strategy?

Various transformations may have started at different times, but full vision alignment is important for effective organisations-wide change. Encourage sharing not only of goals but the definition of digital and scope of transformation. Leverage data-driven insights into the business and its industry to guide discussion and decision-making, to help bring senior management to a common vision and purpose.

How can I leverage data in decision-making in the context of digital transformation?

Building a more analytics-based organisation overall is important, embracing data standardisation and transparency in practice as well as in principle. It can enable you to assess the ROI of digital initiatives of any type or duration. You can predict cost, assess potential value, project impact, analyse risk, manage projects, and introduce information in meaningful ways to top management teams.

Step 3: Map your digital journey

Decide how digital transformation relates to your financial processes and role and define a vision of how you need or want these to evolve. Consider how data driven and analytical decision-making can influence the organisational strategy in future.

Cloud Enterprise

Becoming an End-to-End Cloud Enterprise

Come inside Oracle’s own transformation. Share the experience, the lessons, and the roadmap of Oracle’s own digital transformation to become an end-to-end cloud enterprise.


eBook: Getting great ideas to market - fast

The most innovative companies grow faster than the market. They’re resilient. They’re adaptable. They anticipate risk and they quickly pivot when necessary.

The CFO as ringmaster

„The CFO is now a Ringmaster“ says Global Fintech Influencer Efi Pylarinou. “CFOs juggle the entire value chain of the business, as they have been upgraded to an important strategic role next to the CEO. They are increasingly deploying technologies to:

  • Automate financial approval processes
  • Overcome internal silos to obtain real-time insights from data analytics
  • Integrate across the entire value chain to obtain real-time insights from data analytics
  • Improve communications internally and externally to be more Strategic for business as usual and involved in Innovation.”
The CFOs is now a Ringmaster

Events and product announcements for CFOs

On-demand Webinar

Your Digital Transformation Path as a CFO

Listen to this interactive webinar with our experts Frans Post and Dr. Elizabeth Teracino and learn more about six simple steps CFOs need to take for their digital transformation journey.

Watch the Digital Transformation webinar
On-demand Webinar

Oracle Cloud ERP Virtual Summit: Outpace Change with Continuous Innovation

Join Oracle customers and executives, IDC, and Peter Hinssen, keynote speaker and author of his latest book ‘The Phoenix and the Unicorn’, to learn how you can gain competitive advantage with the help of continuous innovation.

Watch the Cloud ERP webinar
On-demand Webinar

Modern Budgeting, Planning and Performance Management

Executives like CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, CIOs and financial operations decision makers can learn how new advances in technology (such as the cloud) help to enable modern approach on ZBB that is about reinvesting and saving not just cost cutting.

Watch the planning and budgeting webinar
On-demand Webinar

Oracle EPM Virtual Summit: Boost Your Agility with Connected Planning

When disruption is constant, the most valuable plans are ones that can be adjusted continuously. Learn how Oracle Cloud EPM applications use AI and machine learning to help companies build truly connected plans.

Watch the Cloud EPM webinar

Step 4: Review your transformation readiness

Assess how far your finance and business processes have come in adopting digital processes so far. A digital maturity assessment will help inform your decisions, set the pace of change, and help you lead internally by example.


Finance self-assessment tool

How do your finance processes stack up against best-in-class organisations? Discover where you stand, in order to make informed plans for digital transformation, with our multilingual Finance Self-Assessment tool.

Finance Self-Assessment Tool

Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – Product Tours

Product Tours

Explore how you use our products every day and what their key features and benefits are in these product tours.

Step 5: Examine analytical capabilities

Transformation offers opportunities for increased transparency, better integrity, and deeper analysis of finance data to help drive shareholder value. Consider the digital infrastructure and tools used to manage financial operations today, before identifying how you could address gaps, disconnects, data management challenges and process inconsistencies to drive value for the whole business and all stakeholders.

PWC Research

PwC Research and Insights: What is important to today's CFOs?

Today’s CFOs face many challenges, including a lack of talent with critical technical skills they will need in the digital future. 75% of CFOs will allocate more resources to digital transformation in 2021 – and very significantly so, say more than a third of them. “They’re placing bets on data analytics, automation, cloud and customer transformation” says PwC in its latest CFO Pulse Survey.

Executive Paper: Money and Machines

87% of business leaders believe that they will face mounting reporting, competitive and workforce issues unless they rethink – while 85% want robot help with reporting, approvals and closing the books. Read our executive paper Money and Machines and learn more about how CFOs and customers alike are embracing AI and machine learning in 2021.

Webinar Replay – How AI Changes the Rules of the Game for Finance

Finanz und Wirtschaft Forum Zürich noted that experts suggest it’s time for business to embrace AI and machine learning as part of rethinking financial processes for the future. Watch as three experts share insights and discuss the dynamics and best practices of How AI Changes the Rules of the Game for Finance.

Oracle Analytics: A day in a life of tomorrow's CFO

The flexibility and freedom of digital enables new ways to operate, gives people new ways to work, and allows CFOs like you to see, analyse and utilise your data to unlock efficiencies, cost savings, and drive strategic business advantage.

Being a CFO in today’s world means always being one step ahead and having the right information at your fingertips. See the impact of Oracle Analytics: A Day in the Life of Tomorrow’s CFO in this powerful short video.

Why digital transformation in finance

New business models, big opportunity

New business models, big opportunity – in the wake of the pandemic organisations are planning big moves. Cloud adoption and the enterprise-wide shift to digital are accelerating. Read this MIT Technology Review research report and learn why 50% plan to pivot to new markets, 58% will rely on predictive analytics.

Finance transformation

“Digital disruption is profoundly changing the finance function. And stakeholders are increasingly expecting you to deliver forward-looking insight. In this rapidly changing landscape, the question isn’t whether you need to transform − it’s where you need to start.” PwC Switzerland.

How can the CFO evolve today to reframe finance for tomorrow?

CFOs should reframe the future of finance with a focus on trusted technology, new talent profiles and an expanded ecosystem – one of the key conclusions of the 2020 EY DNA of the CFO survey. Explore it and learn why the future looks more connected, leaner, service-shaped and increasingly automated.

Step 6: Build your digital transformation roadmap

Use the insights and information from Steps 1-5 to outline an actionable and transformative governance roadmap that will help you drive and control the change process. It should outline the agile planning approaches for each stage and step towards a goal state in which your people, processes, tools, and data integrate and support better financial visibility, agility, and speed of operation.


Executive eBook: Four big moves finance should make right now

In the planning process and beyond, CFOs and their teams should pay attention to the opportunities that move the whole business forward. Download this executive eBook Four Big Moves Finance Should Make Right Now and explore how you can help recapture growth and thrive in an unpredictable future.

Finance customer testimonials

“Moving to Oracle… was like switching from black and white television to high definition. We have full budget control, fingertip reporting, and accurate data.”
Arnaud Rey - Director, Financial Services Reorganization Project, HES-SO Geneva

“One of the prerequisites for our business success is a state-of-the-art, fully integrated cloud solution that provides our managers with real-time data. We see Oracle as not only a vendor, but also as a partner.”
Stefano Mariani, Head of IT, Alcar Ruote

“We want to be the best deployment of Oracle Cloud ERP and EPM on the planet, because we believe that’s how we can help our customers to be successful. We also learn from our customers, so it’s a win-win story.”
Maria Smith, Senior Vice President and Assistant Corporate Controller, Oracle

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