Are Financial Officers Human?

Alwyn Pretorius, General Manager at Infinitus Reporting Solutions (creators of Finnivo®)

Gone are the days when financial officers were mere “bean-counters” tucked away in remote corners of the office. Today’s finance professionals have emerged as pivotal figures in corporate strategy, wielding influence far beyond traditional accounting roles.

This shift reflects a broader transformation in how businesses view and utilise financial expertise. “Financial officers have become trusted advisors, industry experts, and a critical support arm within businesses,” says Alwyn Pretorius, GM at Infinitus Reporting Solutions. “More than reporting on historical results and ensuring compliance and good governance, they now offer nuanced and informed insight.”

Driving this evolution is the relentless march of technology across all sectors. Financial professionals must now embrace digitalisation and automation not just to remain relevant, but to unlock more efficient ways of working and deliver greater value to their organisations.

“Choosing more robust, fit-for-purpose reporting, planning and analysis tools and solutions should be a priority,” Pretorius argues. He points to Finnivo™ consolidation software as an example of technology that automates data collection, allowing financial officers to focus on higher-value tasks such as analysis and strategic planning.

As their role expands, financial managers find themselves collaborating more closely with other departments. The once-siloed finance team now works in tandem with marketing, operations, and other units to align financial goals with overall business objectives.

This new landscape demands a more diverse skill set from financial professionals. Beyond their core expertise in accounting and compliance, they must now possess strong communication skills, broad business acumen, and the ability to translate complex financial data into actionable insights for non-financial stakeholders.

“Financial managers are far more than number crunchers and their expertise goes beyond facts and figures,” Pretorius notes. “With the amount of data that passes by their fingertips, they are far too often an untapped source of incredible insight.”

In an era of increasing business complexity and uncertainty, the human judgement and contextual understanding provided by skilled financial officers remain invaluable. While artificial intelligence and machine learning tools can process vast amounts of data, they cannot replicate the nuanced interpretation and strategic thinking that experienced financial professionals bring to the table.

The challenge for businesses is to fully leverage this evolving role of financial officers. This means not only investing in the right technology but also fostering a culture that values and integrates financial expertise across all aspects of decision-making.

For financial officers themselves, the imperative is clear: embrace new technologies, develop a broader business perspective, and position themselves as strategic partners rather than back-office functionaries. By doing so, they can cement their status as indispensable, and decidedly human, assets in the modern business world.

Read next: Moya Money relaunches as financial app for freelancers and businesses



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