Mike Donnellan, Senior VP for ACS, has a unique perspective on the past, present, and future of CFOs, and he shares his insights in a recent interview
CFOs are still adapting to the rigors and changes in their position over the past decade or so. Their leadership role and their responsibilities have grown a great deal and they still continue to grow. Mike Donnellan is the senior vice-president of finance and accounting outsourcing for ACS, which is a Europe-based company under Xerox, specializing in BPO and IT outsourcing in numerous industries and the public sector. Mike has a first-hand perspective on the changes ongoing in the CFOs role as well as how technology and the right models are vital to creating strongly performing businesses.
On the Changing CFO
Mike notes that in the past 15 years, there have been dramatic changes in all organizations in regard to CFOs. Now these changes “have converged around a common agenda that is primarily to do with continually re-shaping the Finance & Accounting (F&A) Operating Model” in order to satisfy the ever-changing finance and business environment.
Looking into the future, Mike has some interesting ideas and predictions. He sees “CFOs deploying a three-piece finance operating model” divided into three core parts. First, the “front office” which interacts with the “external market,” a secondary office which combines data, analytics, business intelligence and the talent behind that to make the broad and impactful decisions, along with the business executives who are necessary for any organization to grow. Lastly, he sees a “back office” where the traditional, basic work of finance departments like accounting and compliance are completed highly efficiently and effectively.
An additional factor which will become more pertinent in the decisions of CFOs is the priority put on their focus. He tells us that CFOs will continually “focus on their real-business, not on things that are not core. They will have to stop doing things that are not core to their brand.” This is important as it will free CFOs to optimize and simplify all of the finance, investment, and analytics within the organization.
Mike’s work is involved in the $1 billion investment Xerox has made in research and development. He sees the research Xerox and others are doing as transforming the quality of financial automation to free people from entering data into complicated systems.
Their hopes are to create a seamless data extraction system that requires no human input. This will improve ERPs immensely, and he sees the advancements as becoming standard for CFOs and their finance teams.
Be sure to read the rest of the in depth interview linked above, for more information.