The digital CFO is a business requirement

Very few people would have ever dared predict the explosion of computing power seen in the last fifteen years. Since the birth of the iPhone in 2007, the amount of data created, transmitted and stored has risen exponentially – we all carry smartphones, each one containing several thousand times more computing power than the four computers that put Apollo 11 on the moon.

An unlikely beneficiary of the leap in digital resources has been the finance department. At one point, their role was purely reactive; they were money-counters, responding to requests for funding. The dawn of big data and real-time updates has made finance a business-critical department for growth and accurate risk management.

How data has changed the role of the CFO

While the internet has created a fast and highly competitive business environment, it’s put new focus on the finance department to manage efficiency. Previously, this involved managing the outgoing expenditure, usually after it had gone out. Companies now need finance – and the leaders of the sector – to use digital technologies to improve planning, assess risk, make efficiency savings and manage expenditure.

This leaves finance leaders needing data at their fingertips and the ability to apply it to all levels, whether it’s company, industry or the whole business world. The growth of cloud solutions has given CFOs a cost-effective way to access scalable computing power without risking investment in expensive servers. Sudden leaps in demand, such as using AI, planning software, analytics or predictive assessment software involve huge amounts of pure ‘thinking’ power but the CFO that can make use of them gives companies a real competitive edge.

The future of finance and computing

The business case for digital finance leaders and CFOs has been made, but many firms still lack suitable people and infrastructure, hampered by legacy systems that limit the ability to update to modern processes. The ability to demonstrate the right skills could be the thing to allow you to take control, update and modernise your entire business, and the University of York has a 100% online MSc in Finance, Leadership and Management that could be a perfect fit.

As all learning is delivered online, it gives the flexibility to study anywhere that suits you and means you don’t need to take a career break to study. Keeping your current salary and being able to apply what you learn removes much of the burden involved in getting the right skills for the next stage of your career. To make this easier, you can also gain a prestigious Russell Group University Masters degree on a pay-per-module basis and there are six start dates spread throughout the year, meaning you can begin when you like.

Being taught by the pioneering academics at the University of York via a completely digital Masters degree gives you the best of all worlds; an ability to showcase the right capabilities, a high level of comfort with digital resources and flexibility to study when it suits you. You could be invaluable as a financial leader of the future.