The future looks bright for a career in finance, according to a recent CFO Research survey of 218 finance professionals in the banking and financial services industries around the world, and the effective use of technology will enable much of that success. The survey, sponsored by SAP, sought to gain a better understanding of the outlook for the finance function in the banking and financial services industries, as well as what finance professionals from all levels saw as the source of their future success. Four key findings emerged from the research:
Firstly, finance professionals in the banking and financial services industries are embracing their influence in their enterprises—and looking forward to a bright future as their profession evolves. More than eight in ten (82%) survey respondents say that, over the course of their careers, their work in finance has exceeded expectations for interesting, meaningful, and valuable work. Even more respondents (85%) expect their work will continue to exceed expectations in these areas over the next five years.
Secondly, finance teams across the banking and financial services industries will be challenged to support new business models and processes, while fulfilling core functions in the face of rapid change, greater business complexity, and digitalization. Nearly nine in ten survey respondents (89%) agree that, over the next five years, their companies’ success will increasingly depend on their ability to adapt to the rapid pace of change and greater business complexity. For 84% of respondents, success will also mean being able to translate the flow of data into swift and decisive action.
Thirdly, finance professionals in the banking and financial services industries see the rising wave of digitalization and automation as the key to their ability to partner with the business to help strategically guide business decisions. For 78% of respondents, their companies’ success will depend on having instantaneous access to a “single version of the truth”—a unified, comprehensive, and fully up-to-date set of financial and performance data. In addition, eight in ten survey respondents (80%) say that their companies must develop or acquire capabilities in advanced analytics that they do not possess today—that is, sophisticated analytical tools and methods to predict outcomes, assess risk, model complex business scenarios, and support management decision making.
Lastly, in the banking and financial services industries, the organizational scope of the finance function—already broad—continues to expand to encompass risk management, IT, M&A, and other key functions. The largest percentage of survey respondents (35%) predict that the IT function will come under finance’s purview, followed by the M&A (32%) and risk management (31%) functions.