Date posted: 27/03/2023 5 min read

CFOs are key to a data-driven future

As the guardian of financial data, CFOs have an opportunity - and responsibility - to spearhead digital transformation. Brought to you by Workday.

Rapid business change and digitalisation are delivering access to vast amounts of rich data capable of revealing ever deeper business insights, but many organisations are struggling to keep pace, according to Luke Bebbington, Workday’s CFO practice lead.

“CFOs are ideally placed to identify insights - but frequently lack the necessary opportunity to do so because of inadequate investment in digitalising their operations,” he says

“CFOs are coming out of the pandemic and saying, ‘We can’t go forward like this, we know we need to transform.’”

To successfully embed digital transformation, both leadership and the workforce need reliable, accurate insights. The ability to glean these insights hinges on data that is usable - that is, both high quality (accurate, consistent, and trustworthy) and available (timely, up to date, and in an accessible format) - enabling finance leaders to meet and then rapidly exceed the needs of the business.

“Following a period of rapid business change, we are seeing organisations shift their focus inwards, to modernise their core operations and drive business value.”
Luke Bebbington, Workday

Accessibility is critical

When it comes to data, only 7% of finance leaders feel they have enough accessibility, a recent Workday global survey of 1,150 senior business executives found. A worrying figure given that most agree that it’s one of the most important factors in planning and execution of strategy.

“We saw during COVID how quickly finance teams could forecast several different models almost daily, but that created a lot of manual work, siloed data in spreadsheets, increased risk and many late nights,” Bebbington says.

When it comes to what will help accelerate planning, execution and analysis cycles, Workday’s survey found almost a quarter of finance leaders nominated technologies capable of helping them unify data concerning finances, people, and operational matters.

“It’s not just that data volume has grown, it’s that what we can capture has too. Bringing that together and gaining meaningful insights is essential to staying competitive, something that’s no longer possible with human intelligence alone.”

A new data landscape

The good news is tech has advanced to ease - and significantly reduce - what’s required when it comes to putting data to optimal use.

Traditionally, a business would need to write a brief and work with a software developer who would code it up. Nowadays, software like Workday requires no code - it's clearly presented on screen with a really clean interface. Using machine learning and intelligent automation, finance can gain deeper insights that drive business value.

"We’re experiencing a significant transformative period within finance and there has never been a more exciting time to be involved.”

Find out more:

Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, helping thousands of customers adapt and thrive in a changing world. To learn more visit

For more findings from the office of the CFO, read the report ‘Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation.’

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