F&A Forecast: 2017 Predictions and Predilections

processesAs 2016 draws to a close, businesses are peering around the corner in anticipation of what the New Year will bring.

Here, we present our predictions for what 2017 will mean to F&A.

Higher Salaries = Greater Demand for Value

Salaries for accounting and finance positions will continue to rise in 2017. That’s the news according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide. Fueled by an increased demand for skilled professionals, starting salaries will increase in range from 3.0% to 4.3% in 2017, conditional on the position. The 2017 average clocks in at 3.7%, one of the highest in the past decade.

The direct outcome of this will be an increased desire (and demand) to get rid of the redundant work that reduces employee output and doesn’t create any value. Robots (from RPA to cognitive) will help humans do more of the innately human work—the work that requires creativity, abstract thinking or human judgment.

Process Strategy

In the era of AI and ever-advancing disruptive technologies, process can seem like the forgotten middle child. Yet understanding processes—not just on a case-by-case function level, but truly grasping how they all work together through a greater holistic lens—is key to unlocking new ways of working; new areas in which to apply technology and change the way we work.

When work processes are more transparent, it becomes easier to manage them, to apply approval authority and to monitor improvements. In essence, outcomes are the ultimate endpoint. It is the act of mapping out processes that enhances the journey and the speed at which you arrive at your destination. Watch for a bigger emphasis on process transformation in 2017.

Agility Depends on Cooperation

Ever play one of those three-legged race games where one runner’s left leg is strapped to his/her partner’s right leg? They need to work together as a single unit to beat the other contestants.

Once upon a time, internal departments functioned as silos, working in isolation from the rest of the company—though still chasing the same corporate goals and trying to follow similar processes. That lack of communication proved to be lethal for productivity, and companies recognized that collaboration is key to internal alignment. In 2017, we will actively see a move toward not only bringing together an end-to-end approach in the Finance function, but to organizations as a whole. There will be a concerted effort to bridge any gaps between the front office and behind the scenes functions like F&A and HR.

F&A as Transformation Catalyst

As companies look to stay agile and nimble, there will be renewed interest in leveraging the ocean of information that flows into and through the F&A function. Finance is really the link between all departments and business lines. It collects both financial and non-financial information from every reach of the company—R&D to Sales and Marketing to HR and Operations.

With the ability to tap into both past performance and expected future growth, the finance department is in a unique position to guide the company toward a better future while providing stakeholders and customers with a clear view of what they can expect. Finance can influence innovation; it knows how much risk the company can afford and has the metrics to track progress.

Finance: Unlocking the Future

Having a streamlined, accurate and efficient F&A department is critical to business success. Finance can make or break any organization; companies that understand this and know how to integrate the latest processes, trends and technologies will thrive in the coming year. All others will be left behind.

To learn how you can make 2017 the year you boost productivity and ensure competitive advantage for your organization, contact us today for a free assessment of your current practices.


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Sutherland Editorial Team (386 Posts)

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