#046: How Finance Talent can take charge of Finance Digital Transformation

with Nilly Essaides

Our Guest Mentor:

Nilly Essaides is a leading finance and EPM thought leader, with 30+ years of experience researching, writing and speaking about the role of the finance function and of financial executives within global enterprises.

Nilly is a public speaker and industry expert on finance transformation, EPM and treasury topics. Although originally from Israel, Nilly is currently based out of Salem, Oregon.

Key Quote from the Episode:

“[On Importance of Analytics Consulting/Training] The number one ask we found out from our key issues studies for 2018 is for finance to provide management with better information and analytics and it’s also the number one improvement that Finance is planning for this year.” [08:09]

“[How Finance has responded to Digital Finance] World Class Finance organisations are more highly automated and that automation improves their process quality and their process efficiency, so not just a cost play but it’s also an effectiveness play.” [09:18]

“[On Importance of Agility] If things change in the external environment and are changing all the time and the velocity of change is increasing Finance needs to be able to leverage its talent, its processes, its technology to become more agile to become more responsive to that rate of change and world class organisations are more agile.” [10:15]

“[ROI from Automation Benchmarks] Peer groups have the opportunity to shave 35% off their finance costs.” [14:00]

“[Digital Finance Transformation] I know the implications for finance talent can be scary or can be exciting depending on who you are a lot of people will be threatened by the changes but some will embrace them, ultimately there is no choice because this change is happening so that’s kind of the bottom line but one of the problems is that some finance organisations are far from being prepared.” [18:56]

“[What world class companies are doing to empower employees in digital transformation] They really focus on empowering the employees to chart their own career path they’re offering the training, they’re offering the support, the mentoring, the rotational programs, but they’re telling their people you are in charge of your own career and I think it’s critical now more than ever that people realise that things are not just going to happen to them, they are going to have to take charge if they want to be successful, even if it’s scary, even if it’s intimidating, look around and see what’s available to develop your skills for what is going to be needed into the future.” [20:32]

“[The biggest gap we see right now between skills maturity and skill importance in Finance] Data technology savviness so that’s where you should go and not far behind is business partnering (the ability to work with business leaders and business units to help them make decisions, understanding the business, how it works so you can give advice about improving the business in its context).” [21:08]

 (Other resources and how to connect with Nilly below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • 3 key trends Nilly is seeing in the data that Finance need to be aware of.
  • Words of encouragement for those scared of digital finance transformation changes.
  • What world class companies are doing to empower employees in digital transformation.
  • The biggest gap she sees right now between skills maturity and skill importance in Finance

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[01:50] – Nilly’s journey from journalism, Brazilian Bonds, Derivative Accounting to her current role.

[04:10] – How she got into FP&A and Enterprise Performance Management as well as an offer she couldn’t refuse.

[05:35] – Introduces what she does at Hackett Group and its proprietary database to assess world class finance operations at the sub-process level.

[08:00] – Explains why Analytics is now more important to Finance.

[08:53] – 3 key trends in the proprietary data Finance need to be aware of.

[10:00] – Describes the importance of Agility in today’s finance teams.

[10:35] – Why business partnering is becoming more prevalent and the benefits of automation.

[16:02] – Baby steps for making digital transformation initiatives and why some are more difficult to invest in than others.

[16:55] – Explains what RPA does, why it’s a good place to start.

[18:54] – Words of encouragement for those scared of digital finance transformation changes.

[19:25] – Expresses concern over Finance’s lack of preparedness.

[20:22] – What world class companies are doing to empower employees in digital transformation.

[21:08] – The biggest gap she sees right now between skills maturity and skill importance in Finance.

[24:06] – Other areas of accounting & finance exciting Nilly (AI and ERP in the cloud).

[27:31] – The best bit of advice Nilly has ever received (and hardest to follow).

[29:30] – The two books Nilly recommends.

Resources Mentioned:

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