Finance, accounting functions must transform to drive better performance

Chris Suradejvibul,  Consulting Partner for PwC Thailand
Chris Suradejvibul, Consulting Partner for PwC Thailand

Thai organisations need to rethink the strategy of their finance and accounting functions and operations to ensure growth in the overall business, PwC Thailand says.


Chris Suradejvibul, a Consulting Partner for PwC Thailand, said that expectations for the finance and accounting functions have changed. They are increasingly seen a ‘business partner’ that provides data insights to help businesses make better decisions and capitalise on growth opportunities.


“Finance and accounting functions of large Thai companies are fundamentally still very much focused on transactional processing rather than business partnering, which helps an organisation measure and forecast future performance,” Chris said.


Thai companies are becoming more aware of the importance of business partnering within both functions. Still, Chris said, the challenge for them is to truly focus on activities that add value, as well as leverage digital technologies that increase cost-effectiveness and deliver insights.


“As businesses modernise their financials with new technologies, it’s never been more critical for an organisation to have clear and sharp strategies to transform the finance and accounting functions,” he said.


“This will generate a positive return on investment while adding tangible value to the organisation over the long run.”


According to Finance Insights – Reimagined, which canvassed 3,500+ finance professionals across the globe, only 37% of respondents said finance business partnering is currently embedded in decision-making and strategy. That was despite the fact that 78% saw the importance of their role as business partners growing significantly over the next three to five years.


Making transformation happen


The finance and accounting functions have long been geared more toward transactional and compliance work.


Advances in digital technologies and automation have prompted a shift from transactional record-keeping to analysing and interpreting the business implications of automated data.


This means professionals must go beyond the traditional skills set to stay relevant by learning how to analyse numbers in a way that helps businesses grow, including developing a commercially aware mindset.


The same report by PwC and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) found that 55% of respondents saw their role being obsolete within five years without appropriate skills development.


“To help the finance function transition to a business partner role, for example, the company needs to carefully plan and evaluate all finance operating models, including using new technologies, performance indicators and a governance model.


“This also includes developing a business alliance handbook with a clear structure and operating model so that the subordinates can effectively adopt it,” Chris said.