Malcolm Finn, Director of Finance Operations at Johnson Matthey
It’s no secret that with each passing year, CFOs take on more and more responsibility. As a result, the role becomes increasingly loaded, the finance function needs to redefine what the future will hold. Quartz UK spoke to Malcolm Finn, Director of Finance Operations at Johnson Matthey about how connectivity will enable these crucial changes.
Connect the People and the Business
Malcolm first took us through his definition of a “Connected CFO”. “It’s about being self-aware and focusing on self-care but also collaborating with people and connecting with emotions.” This rings truer since 2020 and we’ve all been dealing with large degrees of fear and uncertainty. Not forgetting, boredom during the height of lockdowns. “You then need to connect the people with the business and the then the planet as ESG becomes a more important part of the finance function’s responsibilities.”
In the future, Malcolm expects far more humanity within the CFO’s role. “It’s not all about being rational and intellectual. In fact, the next decade will probably be the most disruptive for CFOs. There will be more scrutiny, more accountability, more shareholder activism, more disruptive technology and more ESG requirements. How do you handle that as a human being?”
The Finance Function
The finance function essentially needs to disrupt itself. It can’t continue approaching ideas in traditional manners. For the future of finance to be successful, Finn says “It always comes down to people. They’re the catalyst for any successful transformation.” There are a number of levels: Execution, Experience, Endings and Endurance.
“Of course, technology enables and accelerates execution. But you also have to think about the cultural embedding of digital changes. You also have to think about what experience your team will need to build resilience. For something to start, something has to end and there’s an emotional and operational element to consider. Finally, it has to endure. Take robotics for example. You could automate everything end-to-end or you can find the tasks you need to automate now to create flexibility.”
So, a far more flexible, emotional, agile approach may well be incoming for those in the finance function. As CFOs become more involved in everything from technology solutions to culture, this could lead to greater results with early adoption. The alternative is probably already long gone.
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