Digital Transformation in Finance: A Practical Handbook for CFOs

Dmytro Natalchenko
Alina Ampilogova

Following the chain of global events inevitably affecting business environments, preparing for the next disruption became the primary responsibility of service providers. In particular, C-level executives operating in the BFSI sector are recognizing the importance of adjusting their vision towards adapting to the next disruption and, what is equally important, gleaning value from it. 

Exploring and adopting innovation plays a major role in this strategy as it removes roadblocks and blindspots from the enterprise's journey and maximizes the potential of financial services. 

In this article, we provided our insights and a detailed outline of trends and predictions for digital transformation in finance to assist CFOs in composing a clear and comprehensive future roadmap.

Digital transformation in the financial industry: market overview

Financial organizations have a more optimistic view of the path ahead of them in 2024 compared to 2023. Despite the lingering uncertainty and remaining tension, the current year has also been marked by growing investor confidence and the acceptance of the changing financial services model. 

The following vital aspects can characterize the latter:

  • Transition to proactivity
    As has been noted by many influential minds and voices in the BFSI sector, the finance function is no longer solely about supporting transactional activities and reviewing past data. It has assumed a much larger and more dynamic role within the organization, with the potential to impact the future of the enterprise.

    Such a shift was made possible by emerging technologies capable of organizing information and deciphering previously unavailable unstructured data, revealing underlying patterns and potential future developments. To seize these opportunities, organizations started changing their approach to finance and accounting, focusing on their status as decision-making enablers.

  • CFOs as digitization leaders
    While CFOs have always played a significant role in the enterprise, the change within financial functions allows them to make an even greater impact by efficiently driving digitization in finance. In the context of rethinking operational quality and transparency standards, CFOs are expected to be role models, evangelizing and promoting innovative approaches.

    By acknowledging digital transformation as an element of a business strategy, CFOs find themselves in front of new opportunities. However, the initiative can quickly be seized by competition—which is why CFOs are required to be proactive in embracing their new potential.

  • Soaring interest rates
    Among innovation catalysts, rising interest rates had a particularly large impact on the banking sector. When they were at their lowest, interest rates stimulated organizations to design and provide new services and products to consumers, compensating for the lack of a main source of income. While this led to the creation of new offerings, it also resulted in the development of product silos where many important insights regarding customer experience and interactions with businesses kept slipping through the cracks. As a result, consumers often switched between different service providers.

    Following the reduced risk to global growth indicated in the IMF's 2023 Global Financial Stability report, increased growth rates are expected to stimulate innovation even further and on a greater scale. In particular, there is a potential for financial institutions to deal with the issue of customer experience fragmentation and transform their siloed offerings into more integrated products.

  • Course towards sustainability
    With around 49% of business executives admitting to moderately embedding sustainability into their corporate culture and only 11% of C-suite representatives confidently stating nurturing in-depth sustainable policies, enterprises are still on their way to fully embracing new, environmentally responsible ways of operating. The BFSI sector became particularly influential in igniting the initiative. 

    As a crucial element of business relations and interactions, banks and financial service providers are encouraged to lead by example, taking new social responsibility policies, minimizing environmental risks, and advocating sustainable models across other business areas. Such an expectation became a powerful drive for innovation, allowing financial institutions to modernize several directions, such as IT infrastructure reinvention and risk management.

    Amid such activities, organizations have also determined a number of vital priorities they intend to address within their finance digital transformation strategy

Finance digital transformation: main goals

Within their transformation trajectory towards streamlined and efficient operations, organizations have determined a number of vital priorities they intend to address within their finance digital transformation strategy.

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Minimizing manual tasks

Although technology provides the key to exclusive insights and accelerated enterprise routines, reducing the volume of manual activities is detrimental to actually seizing the value of digital transformation in finance. 

Despite the rapid advance of innovation, none of the solutions entering business environments can completely replace human skills and agility. Digital products can only be combined with the talents of enterprise teams, expanding their vision and providing them with the tools for accomplishing more within a shorter period. However, to make it happen, CFOs and executives need to focus on liberating their workers from the monotony and redirecting their attention towards more rewarding areas. 

Within the upcoming financial industry dynamic, if a financial organization spends around 80% of its time manually handling reporting or transactions, then something is deeply wrong with its strategy.

Leveraging innovation to enhance existing ERP solutions

Expected to grow over $71 billion by 2030, the ERP software market largely owes such a steady and promising growth to the financial sector, which marks the importance of ERP systems in financial planning and strategy optimization. Therefore, updating and streamlining on-premise ERP functionality remains one of the most crucial tasks of CFOs and executives seeking to amplify their enterprises with the next-level agility. 

Using new technologies potentially allows financial enterprises to customize their ERP systems and upgrade them with unique features, leading to the creation of enterprise software that matches specific needs and unique business goals. 

Multi-fund management

Decluttering mutual funds and organizing them within balanced portfolios by consolidating them across various entities.

Enhanced compliance

Improving irregularity detection and regulation monitoring for streamlined audits and seamless adherence.

Real-time analytics

Enriching decision-making across enterprise departments by unlocking and processing more relevant financial data.

Greater efficiency

Taking over routine and repetitive tasks, enabling key employees to focus on more critical activities and tap into new income opportunities.

Amplifying financial storytelling with data visualization

Given that humans are naturally wired to perceive visual information, exploring new ways to present complex information and break it down into easily digestible charts, diagrams, and tables is never over. For instance, focus areas such as accounting and financial reporting accumulate a lot of data that can provide a fresh perspective on operations and business objectives. 

However, such data can't be presented to decision-makers and business partners in its "as is" state. First, it needs to be cleaned and translated into an understandable format, bringing vital points forward. This is where data visualization comes in. 
Although one recent 2023 study points out that data visualization is still underused in the finance sector, this tendency is estimated to change as more financial institutions focus on creating compelling, value-rich, and fact-driven narratives for investors, internal teams, and boards of directors.

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Digital transformation in finance: key aspects and challenges

Given the introduction of new innovation drivers, it’s logical to assume that innovation adoption has accelerated considerably across the organizations. However, the numbers state otherwise: according to the EY survey, only 11% out of 92% of financial executives who set a course for corporate finance digital transportation were confident in making progress and actually advancing their adoption. 

Such a slow pace may seem unexpected—and yet, this is something CFOs should be prepared for. Any field as complex as finance comes with both opportunities and challenges. Due to this, planning for digital transformation can easily become obstructed and held back by many constraints and doubts, affecting decisions or even leading a promising journey to a dead end. For instance, there are several pivotal challenges to remember from the beginning to the end of planning a transformation roadmap.


  • Legacy system modernization
    Aside from amassing years of business knowledge, legacy systems are also known to accumulate technical debt. Often, tackling the latter without breaking or compromising the former becomes a complicated and intimidating task that consumes a lot of time and investment. For that reason, executives can often hesitate to replace or update legacy systems—but the more they stall, the harder such systems become to support. Ultimately, an upgrade has to be made, but at a much larger cost and with a greater loss of opportunities.

    So, when planning digital transformation in finance, updating the core of operations should lie at the heart of CFOs' priorities. Decision-makers need to accept that expenses are inevitable—but if they invest within a planned and calculated approach, they can glean value and get returns much faster.
Enterprise legacy app modernization: tips, guidelines, and practices decision-makers should know.

  • Cost priorities re-evaluation
    Enterprise-scale digital transformation rarely comes at a low cost. Quality takes investment—and pays back with bountiful outcomes and optimized long-term expenses. However, when planning and deploying digital transformation for finance, leaders are often hindered by unforeseen costs that prevent them from reaping results. For instance, less than 10% of banking organizations have been reported to fully commit to innovation because of miscalculated cost expectations. The reason why it happens stems from an outdated mindset that still perceives innovation adoption as a one-time effort rather than a consistent process, resulting in an inaccurate estimate of potential expenses.

    To fully embrace the idea of committing to exploring and updating technology on a regular basis, leaders need to rethink their priorities, long-term objectives, and values, removing the bias that holds their enterprise evolution back and prevents them from capitalizing on the change. As data shows, the latter is more than possible. For instance, the percentage of banks that committed to digital transformation acknowledged improving their cost-to-income ratio and achieving greater profitability compared to their competitors.

  • Organizational resistance
    The human factor is another challenge standing between CFOs and a successful digital transformation for finance. As has been pointed out by major industry pioneers such as Deloitte and EY, if an innovation journey is unclear to enterprise teams and departments, it will fail to deliver the expected outcomes. No matter how well the technical aspects are planned—without communicating the importance and the reward of the change to a critical role within the organization, there will be no result. 

    So, CFOs need to stay connected to their employees' vision and expectations to synchronize the technology adoption process with onboarding. A seamless digital finance transformation strategy involves teams, stakeholders, and experts interacting with the technology. Every participant needs to know their role and the impact they will be making—in addition to mastering the new approaches to deciphering and using new insights.

  • Insufficient end-user support
    As revealed in the PwC report, nearly 32% of customers change financial service providers after just one instance of not receiving assistance. This number underscores the intensity and pressure of customer expectations financial organizations need to meet and exceed. Failing to uphold a certain bar regarding the quality and speed of services can inevitably lead to losing clients who will simply start looking for other providers.

    It’s important to keep in mind that while customers got used to fast response times, quick service delivery, and expecting innovation, it doesn’t automatically imply they are instinctively familiar with disruptions. Whenever a change is made, clients need to be walked through it and supported at every step.

    To arrange that, organizations should ensure their digitization in finance is accompanied by robust support teams, knowledge bases, intuitive dashboards, and intelligent assistants, ready to instantly process a wide spectrum of requests, inquiries, and issues.

  • Cybersecurity issues
    The most complicated part of cybersecurity is that it's a non-stop process that calls for regular vigilance and monitoring from leaders and executives. Introduction of new technologies and their integration into the enterprise is commonly associated with increasing risks to data privacy and client information, leaving decision-makers and stakeholders worried about disrupting stability and introducing threats to the equation. Such doubt should be addressed with clear realization that change is crucial to security. Outdated infrastructures become much easier to target—and lack of education on modern cybercriminal activity can backfire horribly.

    The most complicated part of cybersecurity is that it's a non-stop process that calls for regular vigilance and monitoring from leaders and executives. Introduction of new technologies and their integration into the enterprise is commonly associated with increasing risks to data privacy and client information, leaving decision-makers and stakeholders worried about disrupting stability and introducing threats to the equation. Such doubt should be addressed with clear realization that change is crucial to security. Outdated infrastructures become much easier to target—and lack of education on modern cybercriminal activity can backfire horribly.

  • Lack of integration expertise
    When planning digital transformation for finance, organizations are likely to reach out to technology partners with the tools and teams to adopt technology across their organizations. However, this is where the majority of new pitfalls hide, especially for mature organizations. As a rule, financial institutions are subject to strict regulatory legislation and need to manage their risks thoroughly. Meanwhile, financial technology providers don't necessarily share the same requirements, which can potentially lead to a mismatch between visions and entail new risks for financial organizations.

    In addition, very few providers have experience transforming mature enterprises with complex IT infrastructures. So, it's not uncommon for CFOs and executives to dedicate a considerable amount of time to finding and selecting fitting partners or postpone the transformation effort altogether.

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While each of the challenges mentioned above can lead a digital transformation journey astray, it shouldn't dissuade CFOs from embracing their role of leaders and pioneers amidst the volatility and uncertainty.

The secret to addressing these pitfalls lies in changing the mindset regarding financial operations, focus areas, and routines—in many cases, leaders and executives approach new issues from a conservative perspective, which leaves them obvious to more convenient and productive options. Therefore, to stay aware and ready to address the challenges, it's important to refresh the enterprise vision first and explore the latest practices and technologies used for removing growth constraints.

How is the finance sector using new technologies?

As the aftermath of a push towards digital channels, the financial digital transformation market is anticipated to grow to $310 billion in 2032 to meet the constantly growing demand for accessibility and availability of online services. Such a dynamic course already paints a very diverse and outcome-rich technology landscape of the finance services sector, which is worth exploring in greater detail, area by area.

Tax and accounting

The transformation of accounting and tax management marks the evolution of financial services in general. Accounting operations are shifting from working with past data to a transformative force providing insights for interpreting the enterprise 's future—which makes them a more proactive part of the journey.  

However, to maintain and advance this new status, accounting needs to fuel its data-gathering and analytical capabilities with technological excellence, injecting more accuracy and efficiency into information processing and facilitating labor-intensive tasks requiring manual input. Similarly, tax management is constantly updating its suite of tools to comply with various regulations and meet deadlines in a timely manner to match the high-tech vision of tax administrations that constantly update and innovate their approach.

Big data management

Consolidating data across different systems to generate comprehensive and data-rich reports.

AI-powered risk management

Identifying irregularities and risks, removing human error, and enabling early issue detection.


Ensuring audit transparency and streamlining transactional data processing with digital ledgers.

Intelligent automation

Taking over repetitive tasks and routines, minimizing human error.

Reinventing approaches to audit through innovation adoption


Given that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted around 50% of insurance workers to retire in the following 15 years, insurance companies see technology as the way to compensate for the upcoming shortage and make more with less. Particularly, organizations are showing increased interest in AI and intelligent automation to manage manual processes and enhance productivity. 

Matching the encompassing trend of prioritizing human-centric experiences, insurance companies are investigating how to use technology to achieve greater customer satisfaction. At the same time, the insurance industry is set on removing the clunky parts from interactions, streamlining operational efficiency while increasing the quality of service. 

Cloud technology

Creating a next-level omnichannel experience for customers and lowering operational costs.


Boosting decision-making and data collection to create robust working environments and reveal competitive opportunities.

Predictive analytics

Predicting customer lifetime value, estimating campaign results, and enhancing risk assessment.


Creating automated flows that liberate working hours and reduce extra steps for customers.


With customers expressing wishes for faster and more convenient banking, leveraging technology enables banking institutions to meet that need and introduce more personalized experiences to various audience segments. Although there is still a degree of conservative resistance among banks, major organizations are acting to embrace the disruptions and lead the change. Banks increasingly become engaged adopters, experimenting with new technologies and leveraging innovation to streamline their internal operations.

Mobile banking

Enabling seamless accessibility and availability of services to customers by introducing intuitive and secure apps.

Conversational AI

Addressing client queries and requests with the help of smart digital assistants who solve non-complex and routine issues while instantly redirecting clients to relevant experts.


Creating intermediary-free environments and conditions for transparent, trust-generating trading, financial transactions, and operations.


Improving organization agility and reducing resource consumption by migrating legacy systems and infrastructure to cloud.

Predictions for financial transformation in 2025

Given the impressive growth trajectory of digital transformation in finance and the ongoing pursuit of innovation, several industry leaders started shaping probabilities and statistics into more tangible predictions. For instance, Deloitte has outlined eight potential trends that are likely to emerge and reimagine the approach to financial services in 2025. To get a glimpse of possible financial future, there is a point in exploring these predictions more thoroughly:

  • Contactless transactions and the advance of blockchain technology
    As customers embrace touchless payments and the independence granted within digital services, blockchain and automation are expected to completely replace traditional financial service models, enabling leaner and more agile operations. Following this development, many other disruptions, such as intelligent assistants and real-time metric monitoring, will become mainstream solutions, ensuring seamless system interaction and granting stakeholders greater visibility into processes.

  • Growing dependence on insights and quality of service
    Since the acceleration of innovation and automation adoption is guaranteed to increase competitiveness, tapping into unique business insights and securing flawless quality of service will become detrimental to financial institutions. With AI and technology handling data collection and processing, teams will dedicate more time to decision-making, collaborating, and determining the course of action. At the same time, securing high levels of customer satisfaction will also be a vital component of competitive differentiation, motivating finance leaders to invest in fully-equipped service centers and getting cognitive psychologists involved in the strategy.

  • Real-time forecasting replacing traditional cycles
    After financial forecasting and digital transformation led to the on-demand generation of relevant and real-time reports, the tables on the traditional approach to analytics were turned. Deloitte expects the idea of monthly forecasting to slowly fade away in favor of constant and ongoing updates. As a result, the demand for experts capable of building end-to-end automated reporting processes is expected to grow, while stakeholders will get used to receiving access to more insights and information on key operations. 

    Accordingly, there is a possibility of combining modern tech talents with traditional analysts, working together to offer rich flows of actionable information.
In most cases, the shift between a cycle and real-time forecasting will lead to changes in the day-to-day operations of the business teams and will be included in their daily routine processes. Modern CFOs should be proactive within such changes, nurturing talents that will be able to support all the technical aspects and mitigate change management risks.

  • Uneasy switch to self-service
    Since customers continuously prefer service providers that grant them independence and autonomy when interacting with their offerings, self-service finance models are likely to become a norm. With the arrival of conversational AI, smart contracts, and other technologies that remove intermediaries and let customers handle almost every process by themselves, service providers are expected to equip their clients with everything they need to interact with their brands on their own terms.

    This novelty is something that financial institutions will need to get used to—especially when it comes to finding the right balance between granting clients autonomy and supporting them throughout their journey and preventing frustration. CFO and finance departments should accept this change bravely and focus on providing the insights with more context, acting as valuable business partners to business teams. The future customers won't expect any hand-holding, but at the same time, they will want their needs and questions addressed within seconds.

  • Development of new operating models
    Deloitte anticipates intelligent automation transforming the service delivery approach, potentially leading to the next-level workforce diversity and a shift in the offshoring/onshoring balance. Financial institutions are expected to cooperate with various combinations of freelancers, on-premise workers, and cross-functional teams. Such a development will undoubtedly put new pressure on leaders who will have to get used to new frameworks and management models, making good leaders a particularly valuable asset of thriving financial service providers.

  • Addressing competition with specialized ERPs
    While ERP platforms will remain crucial to the strategic planning of financial enterprises, traditional ERP systems are anticipated to be replaced with more niche solutions that are lighter, leaner, and more scalable. Such a change will allow CFOs to reduce costs and optimize resources without compromising process management quality. In other words, financial organizations will be encouraged to embrace the opportunities of the new technological era—and rewarded immensely for doing so. Achieving such results would require cooperating with specialized talents and vetted experts.

  • No silver bullet for data clutter
    Aligning and integrating data won’t become any easier—and this is the reality CFOs need to accept in order to fully commit to capitalizing on digital transformation in finance. Therefore, they should be committed to heavy lifting, such as equipping their enterprises with data evangelists and protocols on data governance. This is prognosed to be a complicated work that will constantly distract leaders from identifying and seizing opportunities—and yet it will be a necessary part of preventing issues, stabilizing enterprise performance and enabling growth. So, instead of waiting for a silver bullet, CFOs are recommended to be proactive and prepared for a long-term effort.

  • The rapid evolution of the finance talent
    Finance institution employees are estimated to grow towards making strategic contributions to enterprise development. During the past few years, basic skills have evolved. Data mining, BI tools, data visualization, and storytelling skills became essential for finance professionals. With predictive analytics, instant report generation, and other innovations bolstering their skills and vision, employees will become more inclined towards collaborating across departments, investigating opportunities, enriching each other's expertise, and providing valuable feedback. 

    However, to create such a culture and adopt a new hard skill setup, CFOs and executives will need to amplify their organizational policies and provide opportunities for training, ensuring there are tools and means for effective collaboration and team connection. Another important aspect is to recognize and nurture employee proactivity, which requires leaders to meet the nascent agility with an open mind and outside-the-box thinking.

As evident from the predictions made above, 2025 is evaluated to mark the emergence of more lightweight financial service models that grant clients next-to-full autonomy while providing immaculate quality of service. At the same time, financial organizations are expected to adopt more flexible approaches to employee management and collaboration to maximize the value of insights gleaned from automated data processing and predictive analytics. Such estimations go hand-in-hand with the outline of industry 5.0. where cutting-edge technology is combined with human-centric designs, and the value of leveraging information is brought forward.

How to plan digital transformation?

Digital transformation in finance is as rewarding as it's challenging. However, pitfalls and pivots are inevitable, an integral part of positive change and lucrative innovation—which is why CFOs are encouraged to brave new territories and maximize their emerging potential.

With a calculated approach and a future-proof strategy, realizing digital transformation in finance becomes a more manageable task with clear milestones and objectives. Overall, there are several important guidelines CFOs need to keep in mind for the successful implementation of digital transformation.

It’s important to maintain a broader view of business operations. CFOs should be open-minded and focus not on a single standalone solution but on collaboration with different teams that generate business data within the organization. Doing so will ensure high-quality insights and the possibility of transforming the entire enterprise accounting management ecosystem.
  • Maintaining focus on data
    With data remaining a complex issue, CFOs should expect that data silos and other complications will be their most obvious and persistent innovation constraint. For that reason, they need to assess how to streamline data management and utilization at the earliest planning stages. The more accurate and relevant insights CFOs have on their hands during their first steps, the clearer and more detailed their future vision will become.

  • Staying updated on innovation
    Meaningful transformation should always start with meaningful research. Depending on their business goals, focus areas, and niche priorities, CFOs are encouraged to explore the latest technologies and apply them to their enterprise to identify a fit. It's worth noting that not every innovation can become an instant solution to all goals and needs of a financial institution—there are many factors to take into account. Only through constant awareness and willingness to educate themselves on recent tech developments can CFOs find the most promising solutions and outline industry-redefining concepts.

  • Cooperating with reliable technology partners
    Although financial institutions are reasonably apprehensive about cooperating with outside teams who might not share the same obligations for meeting compliance regulations, collaboration is the way of the future. As enterprises are expected to cooperate with technology partners regularly, CFOs are recommended to augment their transformative potential with vetted technology talents and join efforts with digital partners who are familiar with the niche and goals. While finding the perfect match can take some time, closing long-term partnerships compensates for the time invested, providing financial organizations with much-needed support and technology onboarding.

If you're currently working on a strategy to build a sustainable and integrated financial enterprise ecosystem, let’s chat! At Trinetix, we leverage our experience realizing products and supporting financial industry pioneers and Big Four leaders to inject new-age efficiencies into the finance sector.

Possessing robust expertise in driving innovation for accounting, banking, tax, and audit, as well as other focus areas, we will help you create and execute a highly personalized finance digital transformation strategy that delivers bountiful outcomes and makes an industry-redefining impact. 

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