The study, which surveyed 185 CFOs, reveals that CFOs are keen to leading digital transformation efforts in the finance function in 2024.
Improving finance metrics, insights and storytelling, leading change management efforts, and optimising costs were also identified as priorities for over 70% of CFOs.
“The focus on transformation efforts aligns with the increased interest in GenAI and other disruptive technologies. This also speaks to the role the CFO plays in evaluating and aligning investment in these transformative technologies, both in finance and across the enterprise,” said Marko Horvat, vice president of research in the Gartner Finance practice.
“Transformation and functional improvement are the predominant themes through the top 10 priorities for 2024,” Horvat says. “Leading change, improving the strategy design and function of the finance team, and leading transformation are three of the top five critical priorities.”
At the same time, however, Gartner says CFOs foresee considerable difficulties ahead when modernising finance department structure because efficiently deploying new finance technology into the function can be time-consuming and disruptive to day-to-day activities.
Source: Gartner (January 2024)
“Building technology delivery capacity in finance often requires finance executives to partner with external consultants and internal IT teams to advance projects while continuing to run the function in its current state,” Horvat points out. “As the number and scope of these projects grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to find capacity within the finance function to adequately address the needs of these projects.
Gartner experts advised that successful transformation efforts in finance tend to require that the CFO actively leads technology delivery efforts, rather than simply engaging and collaborating with IT departments.
“What we hear broadly from CFOs is that digital initiatives aren’t meeting their expectations,” said Horvat. “Unless CFOs reassess how they and their teams lead digital initiatives, those initiatives will continue to disappoint.”
Gartner research shows that the digital initiatives that have a better-than-evens chance of realising the intended benefits are those where finance leadership are focused on digital delivery: the actual creation or implementation and management of a digital system.