Digital Transformation & Agile Financial Operations in Times of Change

Digital Transformation & Agile Financial Operations in Times of Change

Digital Transformation & Agile Financial Operations in Times of Change

Jagdish Baheti, Head - Finance & CFO, Delfingen India, 0

Having over 13 years of experience in the finance area, Jagdish has been associated with Delfingen for over seven years now, prior to which he held the role of Controller at Hirschvogel Automotive Group. In a recent conversation with Bimlesh Prasad (Correspondent, CEO Insights), Jagdish shared his thoughts on the transformative impact of tech in finance, stressing adaptability & importance while encouraging collaboration and continual learning are crucial for finance professionals. Below are the key extracts from the exclusive interview:

Briefly explain the impact of new tech advancements on the finance sector.
Technology has a bright future in the finance space with a few interesting advancements to make way. Automation will continue to be driven by AI/ML, which will also deliver advanced analytics and enable organizations to make quick data-driven choices. Also, with the combination of big data and predictive analytics, risk management will be revolutionized and fraud detection capabilities will be further strengthened. Also, finance professionals will have real time access to data from linked devices, which will further their decision making abilities. Further, the rise of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets will change the way people think of money, thus opening-up new avenues of investment opportunities. Owing to such constantly evolving technology landscape, it is imperative for finance professionals to quickly adapt to changing market dynamics.

To encourage knowledge sharing on a daily basis among their employees, companies need to create a conducive environment and incentivize knowledge sharing.

What is the importance of finance professionals being flexible and adaptable in their job roles?
Flexibility and adaptability are fundamental workplace skills that benefit every employee irrespective of their industry or position within their organization. In today’s context, organizations value individuals who can easily adapt to change and are on the constant lookout for such talent. Also, these two aspects can significantly improve an employee’s career performance and help them achieve accelerated career growth. During the Covid pandemic, when business across all industries worldwide were forced to adopt new practices such as Work-from-Home or Remote Working, the extent to which an employee is flexible and adaptable had a significant impact on his/her overall productivity. These two factors also act as deciding factors for the organization during any crisis situations to take remedial measures quickly and reduce their impact. Given the critical nature of every
finance function, flexibility and adaptability are no doubt the mandatory skills for every finance industry professional.

Throw some light on the major challenges finance professionals face while becoming more agile in their work functions.
I personally feel that, since most people are averse to change and fear it, employee resistance and on-boarding are two of the biggest challenges in this regard. Any change that involves implementation of new technologies can be stressful for employees as they might experience a shift in their responsibilities. Also, most employees would have become accustomed to their usual workplace routine and thus expect to continue doing their jobs in the same way they were doing so far instead of embracing new techniques. This is seen as one of the most sensitive challenge that organizations face while implementing new technologies or systems. Additionally, there is a constant fear among majority of the employees lately that the latest advancements in automation technologies will take away their jobs and render them unemployed, which makes them less confident during this transition phase. Other challenges in this regard are changing requirements, continuous testing, insufficient information, frequent recession cycles and lack of quality measurement while working in an agile environment. To effectively overcome these barriers, business leaders must promote a culture that creates a seamless functional environment and make it easier for employees to adapt to the new normal. For this, they can create co-ownership amongst the employees for new projects which will help them shift their mindset in favor of adopting new technologies.

How should finance leaders encourage their employees to develop a sense of collaboration and knowledge sharing?
Investing in the facilitation of knowledge sharing is an important commitment. The free and consistent exchange of knowledge does not occur overnight, nor does it begin out-of-the-blue. Most often, knowledge sharing gets overlooked by organizations simply because it is not a part of employees’ daily routine and not tied to the company’s KPIs. As a result, companies very evidently lack the proper understanding of the humongous benefits that knowledge sharing offers. To encourage knowledge sharing on a daily basis among their employees, companies need to create a conducive environment and incentivize knowledge sharing. Businesses that are most successful in their knowledge sharing initiatives are the ones who have seamlessly integrated it into their organizational culture, with a prime focus on transparency and accountability. This involves providing regular updates and encouraging from leadership team, incorporating knowledge sharing efforts into performance reviews and rewarding employees who prioritize information sharing at workplace.

Could you suggest a few ways for finance professionals to stay updated with the latest technologies and industry trends?
There are various professional forums that organization industry events regularly do to discuss topics related to finance such as current trends, latest technology disruptions, and many others. Also, institutes like ICAI, ICSI and CMA organize study circles across various cities. Additionally, industry-specific bodies like ACMA conduct various seminars and conferences on a regular basis. Lastly, bodies such as the French Chamber of Commerce, German Chamber of Commerce and Swedish Chamber of Commerce organize many events and training programs for benefit of industry professionals.