Finance Transformation: What Are Modern Finance Teams Focusing On And How Can You Achieve It Too?

Written by
Alvin Ip
Last Modified on
December 19, 2023

Comfort zones can be difficult to get out of because of how complacent we can get in them. However, that way of thinking has long propagated out-of-date financial reporting systems and procedures as best practices in the industry. Only when we embrace change can we finally move towards transformation. Finance transformation can be complex due to trying to figure out what financial data to collect, how to acquire it, and how to turn it into actionable insights. 

The times are changing, and with everything else changing in the world, traditional finance has taken a back seat, and modern finance has taken its place! In this blog, we will discuss the transformation of finance into digital modes, finance’s role in a company, financial objectives and the goals of financial management, among other things. 

Defining Modern Finance

"Modern finance" refers to the current evolution in skill sets and proactive decision-making in the age of finance digital transformation. These capabilities increase efficiency while enhancing the capacity to provide forward-looking information and decision support. Modern finance includes elements of digital finance that show how businesses must change to stay competitive, using data better and implementing sensible change management.

To promote strategic improvement, adoption, and results, organisations must see modern finance as an ongoing journey that needs constant improvement. Beyond improving decision-making, businesses may anticipate that contemporary finance initiatives will enhance the employee experience by automating tedious chores, granting access to clearer and more valuable insights, and accelerating the resolution of issues. This means that fewer man hours will be allocated to tasks that are repetitive and focus on important tasks will increase, leading to greater efficiency. 

Role of Finance

Finance is the magic potion that aids in creating new companies and enables existing companies to take advantage of growth prospects, hire local labour, and support other companies and the local, state, and federal governments through income taxes. Every business's success depends on strategically using financial instruments like loans and investments.  It helps create a balanced relationship with clients and effectively processes projects. The role of finance in a company cannot be understated.  

The Transformation We are Witnessing in Financial Teams

The Finance role in a company plays an important part in ensuring a company functions smoothly. There are various factors on which the growth of modern finance is dependent. Some of them are:


Automation, cognitive innovation, and cloud-based ERP are advancing rapidly, providing chances to streamline procedures and drastically release labour. The addition of blockchain will only hasten this tendency. Digital finance is one of the important pillars of modern finance and finance digital transformation is fast catching up. 


In enterprises, repetitive and basic jobs are still typical, which leads to employee weariness, attrition, unnecessary costs, and unwanted processes. Modern CFOs are adopting automation to find efficiencies and measure productivity, not only for its own sake. To achieve desired automation, it is necessary to thoroughly analyse and rethink how to address processes and manage risks. Organisations must then integrate the right technology to enable the most accurate and effective future state.

Team structure

The demand for business analysts and storytellers drives the rapid evolution of finance talent models. Many financial departments will experience a significant transformation as a result. Implementing new technology or digital finance is more important than altering your talent model. Although there is no doubt that they are interconnected, cultural and organisational changes that affect your workforce may require more time and consideration. Your finance department should evaluate every new hire using this new framework. Also, there’s a pull towards flatter structures and automation that is changing how finance teams are structured. 


Technology and talent in advanced analytics make agile decision-making and cooperation possible, which gives decision-makers across the firm accurate and timely financial information. To make this information accessible, accurate, and usable, finance leaders must be able to package it in a way that is relevant to business partners.

 Integrated structures

To enable financial professionals to analyse and comprehend data quickly, a workable plan eliminates the need to prepare reports from various sources and allows faster access to data. Strategic technology integrations enable automation, minimise manual processes, and gather valuable data to increase revenue, manage costs, and assure more accurate decision-making capabilities. 

8 Things Modern Finance Teams are Focusing on in 2023

Every year, the finance teams wrap up their task list including closing accounts, paying dues and taxes, etc. the last among all. The financial closing procedure is challenging and frequently tiresome. 

As soon as it finishes, they move on to the massive task of planning for the following year. You hardly had enough time to ponder. The modern finance teams are focusing on several things at the same time, 

Mitigating risks

The finance team's first objective is to make sure that money is spent sensibly, that team members carry out their duties, and that the business is safe. To keep the business on track, we must follow two valuable principles, 

1. Need for an easy-to-follow process

There is an urgent need for simple and easy-to-follow spending processes. The employees require a convenient spending tool to spend right. A team member only needs to log into the portal and follow the instructions when they need to pay. You put the policy, limitations, and approvals into the system, so they don't even need to know the rules. The platform handles the job for you.



2. Include managerial approvals in the finance tools

Organisational spend is the finest example of administrative permissions. Employees make purchases on your behalf, either in the field or online, with a corporate card. Additionally, before any money is spent in any situation, they should get permission from management.

The manager must control the employee's spending, keeping in mind not to lose the employee's freedom. With managerial approvals in control, a manager can manage budget, finance and control overall spending. 

Streamlining spend approval 

Generally, the opposite of control is flexibility. The more red tape you impose on team members before they can spend money, the tighter your control over corporate expenditure becomes. A team member must personally visit the finance department or even the CEO to obtain the card if they need to make an online payment, such as for a new software subscription. This allows the cardholder to have all the required information before transferring money.

This system is not so convenient, keeping in mind the various factors. The entire dynamic causes the business to move more slowly and requires more face time. When employees have the freedom to choose, they do their best work. 

Employees must be given the freedom to act swiftly and make decisions while also having the authority to impose restrictions and halt unauthorised transactions, which unquestionably applies to payment methods. Access these systems directly for team members, but with restrictions to maintain goals of financial management.

Monitoring spending in real-time

Data and visibility are essential to finance teams. They need to be aware of every spending their team makes, not only at the end of the month. Real-time data is necessary, and you must use payment methods especially made for modern finance teams. Finance teams require instant access to all operational spending information in one source. In practice, this calls for payment channels linked to a centralised platform or system. In this manner, you can view spending in real-time from anywhere, an aspect of finance digital transformation. 

Gathering accurate financial data

Wouldn't it be preferable to avoid repeatedly entering the same data? Furthermore, you may ensure that your data is recorded more precisely without having to review it frequently, and the data quality improves over time.

1. Expense receipts and claim

Wouldn't it be better if employees submitted all this online rather than filling up an Excel file, sending it to their manager for approval, and then forwarding it to finance?

The user can enter their claim straight into the system using modern financial instruments. This covers the justification for the purchase, the management who gave the go-ahead, and even the receipt itself.

To import this data into their accounting software, finance only needs to export it, with absolutely no data entering. As a result, finance teams can save up time. 

2. Month-end closing

The end of the month is notoriously challenging for finance teams. You must combine information from numerous systems, reconcile it, and ensure your books are nicely balanced. You can track all the data in one place using modern finance tools.

Setting up homogenous financial systems

Multiple processes will only confuse employees. Implementing a spend management system in digital finance that makes your process smooth under one umbrella is advisable. 

Employees must go through one process to pay with corporate credit cards, send invoices, or file expense claims. This results in less time spent learning new systems and fewer mistakes overall. Additionally, this method is much more scalable. Everyone on your team must adhere to the same spending procedures when you open other global entities and welcome a growing number of team members.

Distribute purchasing power/control

It is essential to distribute purchasing power equally among the employees. They must not feel restricted when it comes to spending. With modern finance tools, you can conveniently distribute purchasing power and have managerial guidance simultaneously. 

Using self-service reporting

Ad hoc analysis at the end of every quarter is a challenge for finance departments since it takes time to collect reporting data from all sources, such as sales, marketing, and IT. By enabling all end users to design their prepared reports and combine those reports to find trends, you can empower management and save time.

Building intra-team relationships

The internal teams of the finance function within the business are challenging for modern CFOs to identify and cultivate relationships successfully. Additionally, CFOs must embrace formal and informal cross-functional leadership roles to impact investment, risk, and compliance decisions. In the end, this strategic decision-making support gives the organization quantifiable outcomes.

The goal of financial management

The financial success of a company is heavily dependent on financial management. As a result, an organisation should view financial management as a crucial aspect of overall organisational management. The tactical and strategic financial objectives of the company are part of the financial management objective. Accounts payable and receivable, risk, accounting, bookkeeping, investment opportunities, and accounts payable and receivable are a few of the specialised tasks that are part of banking administration systems. They must consider the potential effects of their management choices on revenues, cash flow, and the company's financial health. 

How can you achieve financial transformation?

Increasing productivity and reducing expenses are two factors that motivate many finance transformation initiatives. Benchmarking the essential indicators to finance operational efficiency is the most incredible place to start when assessing the areas that require improvement.

Activities involving business partnerships are essential to any transformation of finance. Understand when, when, and how to leverage business partners, such as shared services, and monitor and assess success.

Roadblocks in achieving finance transformation and how to overcome them

Knowing potential obstacles and having best practices for overcoming them will make finance transformation more successful. Although there will be differences in each finance transformation, there are ways to overcome the usual difficulties.

Employees that are hesitant or unprepared for system modifications

Establish a change management procedure that considers your employees' current workflows and the potential desire for things to remain the same before you start your finance transformation. Make sure changes are implemented gradually to provide staff members enough time to get used to and master each change.

A lack of coordination between finance leaders, business partners, and stakeholders

To ensure that everyone feels heard and that all stakeholders can agree on what transformation should entail, approach the situation from a communication-first perspective.


Finance executives will probably need to change their priorities to reach the next level of efficiency and effectiveness in the financial sector. More significant real-time insights, reduced biases and human error, and increased decision-making speed are all benefits of modern finance. It is better to change with the changing times, adopting digital finance and according the role of finance its right merit to gain trust among employees and clients.

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About the author
Alvin Ip
is a finance leader. He masters business strategy, fund raising, business intelligence, corporate finance and scaling finance teams for growth. He has been a CFO & CEO for multiple businesses and has worked with brands like Varde Patners, PwC Singapore, EY France & more. In his free time, he shares his experience & expertise to help businesses learn and grow.
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