What is the role of the finance leader today and what are the challenges?

What is the role of the finance leader today and what are the challenges?

Discover the challenges and opportunities facing financial leaders in Latin American companies in the midst of the exponential technology boom. What aspects are crucial to make more effective decisions?

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In the dynamic and changing world of finance, the role of the finance leader has evolved dramatically in recent years.

Today, the finance leader plays a crucial role in strategic decision making, creating value and agility in an ever-changing business environment. This article explores the fundamental characteristics of the modern finance leader and the challenges he or she faces in this exciting journey into the future.

How does technology transformation impact a company’s finances?

The financial environment is undergoing a revolution driven by digital technologies. Access to multidimensional and advanced data has enabled unprecedented visibility into business operations and customer preferences.

From a mere reporting and expense control center, finance has become a predictive analytics engine that drives growth and value creation.

Legacy systems are being replaced by cloud platforms, and automation and machine learning tools have freed up valuable time for finance leaders to focus on strategic analysis and decision making.

The combination of experienced legacy systems professionals and young, digitally native talent has created a fascinating scenario of intergenerational collaboration.

Three skills that financial leaders need to have

The financial leader is an essential figure in modern organizations. According to Peter Simons and Lori A. Sexton’s study, this role should include skills such as financial planning and analytical capacity.

However, these profiles are currently experiencing new challenges as technologies become part of their work processes and routines. That is why, in addition to the aforementioned capabilities, other not so traditional ones are suggested, such as:

  • The ability to visualize data: That is, the ability to transform complex data into clear, actionable information through graphs and visualizations. In short, this implies that you have a methodology for obtaining and displaying data graphically in a way that clarifies possible scenarios.
  • Expertise in Big Data and Analytics: The mastery of tools and techniques that allow extracting valuable insights from large data sets. At first glance, this represents a great challenge in the acquisition of new knowledge, but we must say that new technologies are making simple, even the human learning process and the link with the tools capable of automating them.
  • Organizational influence: A finance leader has a common leadership mission for all these roles in the new era, and that is to imprint a data-driven culture. This is an ability to drive change and lead through persuasion and effective communication.

Additionally, a finance leader leads the implementation of advanced technologies, such as cloud and robotic process automation.

To successfully pursue this mission, cross-departmental collaboration with cross-functional teams that support strategic decision making is imperative.

What are the challenges of a finance leader in 2024?

As finance continues to evolve, finance leaders face a number of exciting challenges, some of which include:

  • Innovation management: Keeping abreast of emerging technologies and harnessing their potential to improve efficiency and decision making.
  • Adaptability: That is, being able to implement rapid and effective changes in response to market fluctuations and business demands.
  • Focus on value: Creating non-financial metrics to guide capital allocation and prioritize value creation for customers and the organization.

The financial leaders of the future must not only have certain skills in finance, but must also embrace innovation and emerging technologies.

One may assume that this pertains to the new generations who are training for the future, however, new leaders need to acquire such tools now, so the challenge transcends age and organizational experience.

As key connectors in the organization, finance leaders play a critical role in strategic decision making and value creation in an era of uncertainty.

As such, this role is essential in today’s companies as they guide organizations through technology transformation and data-driven strategic decision making. Their ability to adapt, innovate and create value makes them key drivers of business success in times of constant change.