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The digitisation of organisations’ finance functions

The digitisation of organisations? finance functions is well underway and UK businesses are more confident they are in a strong position to address future businesses challenges than their counterparts in Europe, according to new research from leading specialist recruitment consultancy, Robert Half UK.

The majority (89%) of UK finance leaders are confident their digitisation plans put them in a strong position to address business challenges with their confidence level only dropping to 86% when asked about their prospects in five years? time. Their counterparts in Europe however do not share the same long-term confidence with 83% in a strong position to address future businesses challenges today, dropping to 72% in five years? time.


This suggests that UK businesses are in good shape to leverage their digitised finance functions to remain compliant and competitive, despite 87% citing challenges in the continual roll out of their digitisation plans.

?      40% of finance leaders pointed to technology limitations as the biggest barrier to successfully digitising the finance function.

?      32% say it?s caused by organisational and/or operating models.  Nearly a third (29%) believe that this is getting in the way of progress. 

?      Lack of the right skills (26%), standardisation of processes (23%), staff execution (21%) and monetary costs (19%) are additional challenges.

As businesses look to identify growth opportunities they are relying more on access to big data with half (50%) of UK businesses looking to invest in data analytics as an extension of their digitisation plans for the finance function. Fraud detection (43%) and compliance & regulation (35%) followed as areas identified to receive investment.  A lower proportion of finance leaders (21%) said that they would invest in financial reporting as part of the digitisation agenda while only 7% of finance leaders said that they would not make any investments in new areas or initiatives at all.

Medium sized businesses (55%) and large businesses (57%) are more likely to invest in data analytics than small companies (37%).  Small businesses see fraud detection and risk management as more of a priority (48%) than medium businesses (42%) and large companies (37%). 

Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director of Robert Half, commented: ?As UK businesses continue to invest in the digitisation of their finance function it cements the importance placed on the department for the organisations? success. Businesses are providing their accounting and finance departments the tools to forecast and test business scenarios often using real-time information.?

*The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior finance executives from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.