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ANZ digital finance transformations falling behind
Thu, 19th Jan 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

According to Workday’s latest survey, most Australian and New Zealand companies are still lagging in robust finance digital transformation.

The CFO and CIO Indicator Study examines the state of digital finance transformation and how these efforts are impacted by the finance and IT functions.

The survey found that only 5% of Australian organisations and 2% of their New Zealand counterparts have a strategy to accomplish a robust digital finance transformation and implemented a range of transformation initiatives over the last two years. 

50% of Australian organisations and 42% of their New Zealand counterparts were still developing their digital transformation strategies, the largest groups of organisations in each region. 

The survey also showed that 49% of Australian respondents and 36% of their New Zealand counterparts believed that their teams were under growing pressure to pivot at speed to new markets.

One interesting statistic was the admission that many organisations in the two markets lacked basic capabilities within their finance and IT functions.

51% of Australian respondents and 49% of New Zealand respondents believed that limited or outdated information hindered their teams’ abilities to make accurate forecasts.

Almost half of the respondents from both markets also believed they did not possess the tools that the next generation of finance talent expected them to have.

“Unlocking the value of data is critical to the success of organisations in Australia and New Zealand, but many leaders still face challenges managing exploding data volumes,” says Jo Anne Ruhl, Vice President and Managing Director of Workday Australia and New Zealand. 

“With finance assuming an increasingly strategic role, IT and finance leaders need to collaborate closely to develop and execute finance transformation strategies incorporating the use of analytics and insights to drive smarter business decisions,” Ruhl adds.  

The problem is that many organisations are failing to prioritise and resource digital finance transformations. Limited time, budget, and resources were three areas that respondents say hampered their teams’ ability to simplify legacy finance systems and eradicate technical debt.

This is exemplified by the 35% of Australian respondents and 40% of New Zealand respondents who say that dealing with day-to-day IT support for finance left little time to focus on strategic finance technology transformation.

The survey highlighted three significant challenges that Australian and New Zealand companies face.

Firstly, a technological gap between what CFOs and CIOs know they need and what they currently have. Lack of adaptable technology architecture, technical debt and legacy systems were all problems raised by Australian and New Zealand respondents.

Secondly, the need for an increase in cross-functional finance and IT skills. 30% of Australian respondents (16% of New Zealand respondents) pointed to a lack of technology and data literacy skills within the finance team as an impediment.

Finally, the survey demonstrated the lack of alignment between finance and wider business transformation goals in achieving finance transformation. Cybersecurity challenges, as well as cost and budget issues, are also emphasised as barriers moving forward.