Solid finance DX still eludes most Singapore firms 

Photo by Mike Enerio

Only 3% of finance and IT leaders in Singapore say they now have a robust digital finance transformation strategy while an overwhelming majority of firms are still lagging in this respect, according to Workday’s latest survey of CFOs and CIOs.

This was Based on the survey of 1,060 finance and IT leaders across North America; Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific including Japan and Singapore. Longitude, a Financial Times company, gathered data in March and April 2022.

Findings show that the lack of adaptable technology or digital architecture is the biggest barrier to finance transformation for Singapore companies. 

Other barriers include the lack of financial literacy skills in IT teams, and cybersecurity challenges in an evolving threat landscape.

Further, only two in every five respondents in Singapore are confident about the agility of their finance technologies in supporting organisational pivots during a crisis. 

Almost two-thirds (64%) of Singapore finance leaders also said they are forced to make decisions based on gut instincts despite having the data they need, because it is siloed, not in the right format, or not readily available.

The ability to make data-driven decisions at speed is critical for finance teams today, but the survey revealed the three key challenges Singapore companies face when it comes to data confidence and agility, all of which are essential for successful transformation.

First is that a lack of alignment makes finance transformation difficult, as 43% of local respondents admit that their CIO does not have a seat at the table during critical finance meetings, even when technology is essential to solving a challenge. 

Further, more than half (53%) of Singapore IT leaders believe their aim to eliminate IT complexity is directly at odds with the expanding scope of the finance function.

Second, challenges with technology hinder finance’s ability to adapt. More than half (57%) of the local respondents believe their legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are not flexible enough for today’s business requirements. 

While technology transformation needs to balance IT’s goals of simplicity and agility with finance’s expanding scope and complexity, the survey reveals finance and IT agree change is required to meet their evolving needs.

And third, there is a need to increase cross-functional finance and IT skills.  Only 7% of Singapore business leaders indicated that  investments  to upskill and hire IT talent with financial literacy skills is a top priority.  

This is despite half (50%) of Singapore IT leaders saying that they are under pressure to innovate finance technology despite limited financial literacy. This reveals an opportunity for greater cross-functional training and partnership between IT and finance.

“The power of data is becoming increasingly apparent in this digital age, but many organisations still face challenges when it comes to managing and harnessing the value of vast amounts of data,” said Lee Thong Tan, CFO practice lead  Asia, Workday. 

“As the finance function evolves to take on an increasingly strategic role that propels the organisation forward, it is key that IT and finance leaders work closely together, to deliver on a finance transformation strategy that leverages analytics and actionable insights for smarter business decisions in a fast-evolving environment,”  the CFO said.