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CFOs’ Priorities Survey

Toward a successful transformation

As the pace of technological evolution and pressure on the margins continuously increase, the finance function must adapt to the new needs of their companies. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this statement.

In this fast changing environment, companies should make bolder and faster decisions if they want to benefit from emerging opportunities offered in a more and more competitive market. Whereas CFOs and their teams used to mainly focus on back office tasks, they identified a need to change their finance organisation, transitioning to business partners’ roles and being more and more involved in strategic decisions.

Luxembourg CFOs’ 2020 Priorities Survey has been realised with the aim of evaluating current and upcoming financial trends at a local scale. CFO interviews have therefore been conducted in Luxembourg in 2020.

PwC Luxembourg would like to warmly thank the CFOs who contributed to the survey, as well as all other internal and external stakeholders for their input. We hope that you will find it valuable and informative.

Four Priorities for Successful Transformation

#1 Driving the performance with forward looking insights

CFOs now want to be able to predict the future performance of their companies rather than spending time explaining the past.

To succeed in this change, finance functions should adapt their tools, become tech-savvy by improving their data analytics capabilities and understanding the full potential of technologies. They should define a comprehensive approach that will ensure the alignment of the performance model throughout the entire organisation, the integrity of data and simplicity of use on a daily basis. 

To support the growth of their company, CFOs intend to steer business decisions with meaningful looking forward insights using Artificial Intelligence and more than 50% are already considering implementing “what if?” analysis tools. 

#2 Talent Management 

CFOs endorse a clear HR strategy by upskilling their teams and developing/retaining key talents.

The technological transformation happening in the finance function can create a barrier for non-digital natives who don’t fully grasp the direct benefits of technology and the positive impact it may bring to their work. This can lead to potentially strong but understandable fear, hence a reluctance to adopt those new technologies. 

Finance executives are currently investing in upskilling programmes to help their people becoming more digitally savvy and to create a future-proof skillset across their finance organisation. This approach is instrumental in optimising the engagement of their people and mitigating resistance to change.

#3 Technology

Most of the interviewed CFOs have started their technological transformation while they expect full benefit of their investment over a 2-3 year horizon.

Technology is the cornerstone of the finance function transformation as it links performance, talent management and processes. CFOs declare that their top 3 objectives in the technological space are the digitalisation of processes, the use of Artificial Intelligence and/or robotics and the deployment of digital dashboards. Although implementing digital dashboards will allow one to see immediate results of the technology shift, starting with process digitisation and data management solutions is a prerequisite for the use of more efficient and complex technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and all the benefits that come with it.

#4 Process alignment and optimisation 

CFO’s fourth priority is the alignment and optimisation of the processes as enabler for faster access to accurate data.

Technological shifts within a company are usually the main triggers for processes alignment and optimisation as they should always be a synonym of reassessment of the processes in terms of compliance, efficiency and roles and responsibilities: CFOs indicate that process improvement implies cost reduction, and operational excellence, usually resulting in margin improvement. Process improvement mainly comes with automation, thereby increasing speed and accuracy. Gain from automation requires a higher degree of standardisation of the processes, allowing the automation to be implemented on a larger scale. The standardisation is of importance in particular for larger organisations with more complex structures.

Contact us

Gilles Vanderweyen

Partner, PwC Luxembourg

Tel: +352 49 48 48 2156

Frédéric Chapelle

Technology Partner, PwC Luxembourg

Tel: +352 49 48 48 4185

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