Companies need to look beyond the financial imperative as economies around the world look to kickstart as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, said ACCA recently.
Finance Insights – Reimagined, a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and PwC, surveyed more than 3,400 firms on the changing role of the finance professional and how they can influence companies’ future direction, the accountancy body noted.
Survey results show finance business partnering was a proactive role in organisations, a fundamental part of decision-making and strategy, ACCA said.
However, only 37% reported that it was truly embedded and that the remaining 63% are compromising their agility to support and influence business decision-making at this critical time, ACCA pointed out.
There’s a temptation in responding to the COVID-19 events, as organisations and economies seek to recover, that the sole focus is on the financial imperative, said Clive Webb, senior insights manager at ACCA.
‘This approach could ignore the dangers society will continue to face and may lead to narrow responses to broader issues that are connected to the financial performance,” Webb noted.
To respond to this, accountancy and finance professionals need to have a robust skill set and must show they can play an ever-important role in driving business performance, he added.
“The two most valued aspects in the role were the support of business strategy and the analysis of current performance; this suggests that finance professionals might not yet be achieving the forward-looking view on which the future of the finance function depends,” he advised.
The six hypotheses generated in this report allow businesses, both large and small, to explore the opportunity for finance insights and the role of business partners in generating sustainable value creation, Webb added.
The six capitals — financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and responsible, and natural — which are outlined in the report, provide a unique framework to evaluate how any finance function is performing, said Brian Furness, Partner at PwC.
“In response to COVID-19, and by using this framework, CFOs will be able to make sense out of the current situation, and plan successfully for the future,” Furness advised.