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Public sector finance professionals see digital as vital

08/12/16

Adopting digital technology will be top priority over next five years, management consultants EY’s new study suggests. But is its sample large enough?

60% of public sector CFOs believe improving performance through digital technology is a key driver for their organisations, according to major international professional services organisation EY.

Money box made from coinsA cautionary note… that’s from a survey of just 19 people. But the survey is worth a look, as it contains some suggestive talking points, if nothing else.

As noted, improving performance through the use of digital technology was seen as job number one for the majority of respondents, well ahead of what we might see as the default mission statement by most finance chiefs - driving cost efficiencies through automation and outsourcing (26% of them).

In addition, sector CFOs seem to want to get more strategic. For example, 63% of those EY spoke to said that they now spend more time supporting their organisation’s development and its strategic goals, and 53% said they are increasingly taking the lead in developing and defining overall strategy.

Plus, improving business partnering between the finance operations and other units and functions within the organisation was listed by 95% of CFOs as either critical (58%) or a significant priority (37%).

Changing role

Commenting on the implications of the research, Darra Singh, head of UK government and public sector at EY, said: “Public sector CFOs are adapting to a changing role, taking on more responsibility and becoming an indispensable part of leadership within local authorities, councils and Whitehall.

“The pressures to deliver more with less in the public sector has thrust the role into the spotlight and they are responding to this challenge in different ways.”

This includes the use of technology such as blockchain and sophisticated data analytics.

“We are seeing quite different profiles and responsibilities emerge when compared to the traditional idea of a public sector CFO,” he concluded.

 

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