Sage has released new research which provides insight into the evolving role of financial decision makers in the digital transformation of South African businesses.
Titled CFO 3.0 – digital transformation beyond financial management, the research revealed a new remit for senior financial decision makers as drivers of strategic change.
The findings were made in research commissioned by Sage and carried out by World Wide Worx, which conducted a survey of 311 senior financial decision makers in South Africa.
Executive Vice-President at Sage Africa and Middle East Pieter Bensch explained that the CFO’s role has evolved from managing compliance and accounting activities to providing strategic leadership and driving digital transformation.
“As finance enters the CFO 3.0 era, CFOs need tools that enable them to deliver on their core competencies, and to be confident in driving the digital agenda throughout their organisation,” Bensch said.
Key findings from the research included the fact that 9 out of 10 senior financial decision-makers play a role in their organisation’s digital strategy, with 15% being fully responsible for digital transformation
Nearly half of businesses said COVID-19 had also increased demand for their services, and 78% reported revenue growth in recent months.
COVID-19 a game-changer
The research further showed how COVID-19 created new challenges for South African CFOs, including the need to ensure compliance across a decentralised network, with a scattered workforce.
One in four senior financial decision makers said they are involved with remote worker management, which shows that compliance has risen to the top of the agenda.
Despite the negative impact of the coronavirus on South Africa’s economy, most senior financial decision makers in the survey have a positive growth outlook.
Embracing technology and automation
The research also revealed that CFOs are embracing new technologies like automation and AI – with 90% of senior financial decision makers having adopted emerging technologies in some form.
Managing director at World Wide Worx Arthur Goldstuck said trends which were already present before the pandemic – such as the move to the cloud and embracing AI – have been accelerated by COVID-19.
Over two-thirds of the respondents said they are not concerned about the potential negatives of AI, however, while only one in 10 believed that it would impact jobs.
To further illustrate this, 9 out of 10 CFOs said they welcome automation for performing more of their day-to-day accounting tasks in future, and 40% believe that AI and machine learning will improve forecasting and financial planning.
Sage also announced it will launch its cloud-based financial management platform Sage Intacct in South Africa on 21 August 2020.
This will be the fifth English-speaking country in which Intacct is released.
“As a cloud-based financial management platform designed for and by CFOs and finance professionals, Sage Intacct provides deep multi-dimensional accounting, automation for efficient financial operations, sophisticated visibility for real-time decision making, and a low cost of ownership,” said Bensch.
The platform will be available through these 14 Sage Business partners:
- Acctech Systems (Pty) Ltd
- Alnet Technologies (Pty) Ltd
- AWCape (Pty) Ltd
- CCG Systems (Pty) Ltd
- Lorge Consulting Services (Pty) Ltd
- Mazia PHRA (Pty) Ltd
- Rayburn Consulting (Pty) Ltd
- SynergERP (Pty) Ltd
- Tetrad IT CC
- Thyme Technologies (Pty) Ltd
- Times 3 Technologies (Pty) Ltd
- Muz Creations (Pty) Ltd t/a Omni Africa
- OS Holdings (Pty) Ltd
- FPC Solutions (Pty) Ltd