Finance Operating Model

How you set up your Finance function, in particular your structure, your use of shared services/outsourcing, the skills of your retained function and the technology and processes your teams use, is integral to the success of your business. It dictates how your finance function delivers value, and if it’s not fit for purpose in an age of rapidly evolving technology and shifting consumer behaviour then opportunities for growth will be missed.

Redefining your operating model, capabilities and the performance of your team can enhance your capabilities across the business The focus can then shift to using data and analytics to provide insights that inform strategic thinking, driving growth while reducing costs.

Organisations we work with make huge cost and efficiency savings, while developing an agile finance team that is central to business success.

Finance transformation

What drives the decision to change a finance operating model? Cost reduction is a fundamental part of it, but it goes deeper than that. It can be led by existing technology hampering finance operations. Or a greater need for better data analytics. But what’s at the core of any finance transformation is a desire to embed the finance function in the heart of the business to help drive strategy.

With better insight, more efficient technology and leaner processes the finance function can help lead business decisions. This is especially important for informing strategy and driving growth.

Ensuring you have the right skills is also vital for a successful finance transformation project. Even with the best finance operating model in place, and the right technology and processes to support it, if people lack the skills to make the most of them, the project will never deliver as it should.

Changing your finance operating model is a complex undertaking. That’s why we have a transformation framework which we can adapt and mould to the unique needs of your business.

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Our finance transformation framework

Operating model design has changed rapidly with the emergence of cloud platforms. While technology, tools, and methods have evolved we look beyond process to people to ensure effective change.

To ensure your finance operating model is delivering true value we look at the following areas:

  • Corporate strategy – does your finance strategy mirror wider business strategy?
  • Customer offering – how does your finance function create value for customers?
  • Business capabilities – how will high quality outputs be delivered:
    • Process – can Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence help you do things more effectively and efficiently and improve ROI? Are you making the most of finance shared services?
    • Organisation – does the existing structure enable your teams to collaborate effectively?
    • People Capabilities – do your people have the right capabilities and skills to deliver insightful analysis and strategy?
    • Information – do your finance functions recognise ‘one source of the truth’? Is your data trusted by users and customers?
    • Technology – do you take advantage of emerging finance technology to improve efficiency and insights?
  • Organisation structure – does your structure prevent duplication, and maximise the value of every team?
  • Location – does your location strategy offer a cost effective and high quality service that drives value for your whole organisation? Would your business’ locations be able to withstand or adapt to economic, regulatory or even environmental changes? How would your business handle infrastructure failures?
  • Sourcing – are you making the best use of different sourcing models?
  • Enterprise / function performance management metrics – do you regularly monitor the performance and quality of your finance team, against measures which matter to your customers?
  • Governance – does your governance structure effectively balance accountability and flexibility?
  • Interaction models – have you defined how your teams interact with each other, and how your Finance Function interacts with the wider business?

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Managing disruption

As your finance operating model changes it can lead to impacts across the business. The role and service that people expect from finance won’t match up to the new model, which can be difficult for the wider business to adapt to. To help your organisation adapt we approach all finance transformation projects with an end-to-end perspective.

In the finance function there will be changes to how people work. In the wider business we have to manage expectations of what they can expect from finance. The silos between back office functions also have to be broken down to ensure they are working together efficiently.

Typically we work with our change management experts to identify and manage stakeholders, ensure middle management buy-in and effectively communicate the benefits of the changes to the wider business.

In response to increase cost pressures, risk and regulation, robotic process automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are becoming an increasingly essential part of finance delivery. Yet, many organisations have struggled to scale up or realise value from automation solutions. We manage the transition to new ways of working, identifying where RPA and AI are a solution and where integrating process improvements and automation are part of this journey. However we take a holistic approach, taking into account the implications for governance, location and organisation structures. We also consider HR elements carefully, helping employees adapt and develop so that they can move into a different role. And where automation or outsourcing involves reducing the size of the workforce we handle it sensitively.

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Why choose PwC?

Through our years of planning and executing finance transformation projects we have alliances with a wide variety of organisations. But we’ve always retained our independence. This means we aren’t tied to using a specific provider or technology platform. Our goal is always to use the right technology solution for your business and strategic objectives, never to force you to use a one size fits all package. Some of our alliance partners include: Oracle, Microsoft, Google and SAP.

Our capability in data analytics means that, while we focus on what is required to transform your finance operating model, we understand the wider requirements and impacts on your business. This allows us to effectively manage the changes from end-to-end.

As a global operator we have an extensive network of experts in a wide variety of disciplines and locations. So we have a breadth and depth of knowledge that ensures we can address any potential issues involving areas such as HR, technology, tax, and risk assurance.

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Contact us

Ben Paul

Ben Paul

UK Airlines Leader

Tel: +44 (0)20 721 26410

Helena Clennell

Helena Clennell

Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)79 0381 8545

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