As CFOs embrace the digital transformation of their function, they must make three key mindset shifts to achieve fully autonomous finance, according to Gartner Inc.
During the opening keynote today (stream available on LinkedIn) from the Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference, Gartner experts outlined the path to autonomous finance. Gartner defines autonomous finance as a finance function partly governed, and majority operated, by self-learning software agents that optimize front-, middle- and back-office operations.
“The most common obstacles we hear from CFOs about the journey to an autonomous function are things such as insufficient budget, or an unprepared data environment, or a lack of skills,” said Dennis Gannon, vice president, research in the Gartner Finance practice. “These are all very real challenges, but they are fundamentally addressable. However, without the right mindset from leadership it won’t matter how much talent or budget CFOs throw at digital transformation.”
Finance functions have been automating their processes for many years but this in fact carries a lot of unhelpful baggage because automating a function is a different thing to autonomizing a function.
“Automation in finance brings to mind simplistic, machine repetition,” said Gannon. “It’s not typically associated with full delegation of a process; it is seen as automation of the easy things, and it leaves behind a patchwork of tasks to be done by a human to keep the whole process working.”
While most CFOs believe autonomous finance will become a reality within the next six years, few are making progress toward it. Finance leaders must accelerate their journey toward autonomous finance or risk falling behind. They must make three key mindset shifts to succeed with autonomous finance (see Figure 1).