The evolving role of finance teams in today’s business landscape

Jace Gawne-Buckland
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Finance teams are an integral part of any organisation – holding the keys to effective decision-making, strategic planning, and sustainable growth.

In the rapidly changing business landscape, the role of finance teams is evolving, with new trends and challenges reshaping their responsibilities. Therefore, it’s important to recognise and actively embrace the growing importance of technology, collaboration, sustainability, and risk management in today's finance functions. 

Embracing technology and data analytics 

Finance teams are already increasingly leveraging technology and data analytics to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency. The integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning has enabled more automated processes and the extraction of valuable insights from vast datasets. This equips finance teams with the tools to streamline workflows, reduce manual tasks, enhance team efficiency, and empower teams to truly be regarded as growth enablers, rather than just number crunchers. 

Increased collaboration across departments 

As finance teams assume a more significant role in strategic decision-making, collaboration with other departments becomes crucial. It should foster a more cooperative relationship between finance, operations, and marketing. This collaborative approach not only streamlines communication, encourages a culture of innovation and adaptability, but also supports overall business growth. 

Sustainability and ESG considerations 

A notable trend in the finance industry is the growing focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. This spans across heightened emphasis on climate related disclosures and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission calculations, aligning financing and investment decisions with ESG policies, addressing modern slavery risks and gender diversity gaps, and more. Finance teams play a key role by integrating these considerations into investment decisions and developing innovative finance processes that align with business practices.  

You can keep on top of the latest developments in ESG here. 

Regulatory change  

The regulatory landscape is undergoing constant change, with new regulations and standards aimed at promoting transparency and accountability. Staying informed and ensuring compliance with these regulations is essential for finance teams to navigate the evolving environment. Being on the front foot with measures create trust, leading to a more resilient, trustworthy financial operation whose strength lies in navigating complexities and maintaining a strong internal and external reputation. 

Risk management 

Finance teams are playing an increasingly crucial role in managing various risks businesses face. This spans across traditional finance risks, cyber threats, and geopolitical uncertainties, as finance teams manage operational, strategic, and enterprise risks. Alongside ESG considerations, this includes fraud, cyber threats, and market volatility, adapting to changes in the competitive landscape and consumer behaviour. Robust risk management processes are necessary to identify, assess, and mitigate these challenges – and the impact on your business is evident through better preparation in the face of risks, and ensuring sustainable growth. 

Turning challenges into opportunities 

While many are quick to adapt to new technology and processes, some finance teams find themselves needing to upskill in the context of evolving technologies and responsibilities. However, this may lead to resistance to change for some team members. That's why fostering a positive shift in perspective is key to smoothly transitioning to a more dynamic and efficient finance function. Welcoming change not only opens doors for enhancing efficiency and decision-making within finance teams, but also creates more efficiencies and better outcomes for your business through the adoption of innovative technologies and collaborative approaches. 

There’s no doubt finance teams are at the forefront of change, adapting to technological advancements, embracing collaboration, integrating sustainability considerations, and navigating complex regulatory landscapes. Overcoming challenges and leveraging market opportunities will be essential for finance teams to continue driving positive change within their organisations.  

As we look ahead, the future role of finance teams will likely be defined by their ability to innovate, collaborate, and effectively manage risks in an ever-evolving business environment.