Mini podcast: Digital Finance – Where’s the Potential?

Digital finance function focuses on delivering insights rather than processing transactions. It can help companies make their finance processes more efficient, enable entirely new processes, and help them support decision-making and problem-solving, explains Senior Lecturer David Derichs.

Photo: Kukka-Maria Rosenlund / Aalto University

08.05.2024

In this podcast episode, we will discuss digital finance, and David Derichs – Senior Lecturer at Aalto University School of Business – is the person to talk about this topic. Dr. Derichs holds degrees from Aalto University and the London School of Economics, is part of two early-stage startups as a senior advisor, and has worked as an international strategy consultant at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.

Digital finance refers to a swift, highly automated finance function that focuses on delivering insights rather than processing transactions. How can this kind of finance function make better use of data?

We can first look at processes, and then we can look at data science"

“I think we can adopt two lenses; we can first look at processes, and then we can look at data science,” Derichs explains in the Aalto Leaders’ Insight podcast.

From the process perspective, it helps companies in making their current processes more efficient through, for example, automation. It allows them to enable entirely new processes and supports their decision-making and problem-solving.

The digital finance landscape is evolving rapidly, with core trends reshaping the finance functions of companies worldwide. Derichs talks about a recent PWC Digital CFO survey, which included 522 diverse companies. The results highlighted that digitalization is a top priority for businesses.

“We have all seen a huge increase in data over the last few years, or maybe in decades, through shifts to, for example, electric invoicing.” Companies can harness these data sources and access external big data, such as social media data, as well.

Machine learning and AI-based technologies have a major impact on the finance function.

“We have now ability for advisory functions through these technologies and we can streamline the data collection process.”

What other trends are currently influencing the finance function? Where exactly are we in this digital transition that applies to companies’ finance functions, and what helps companies move forward? And what kinds of skills, mindsets, and cultures are needed in the finance function to ensure businesses’ future success? Listen to the full episode!

This Aalto Leaders’ Insight mini podcast series discusses topical themes related to accounting and finance management, helping finance professionals stay on top of current trends. This episode is hosted by Kate Jurva, Head of Content and Media at Aalto University’s Communications Services. The sound was made by Aalto EE’s Senior Producer, Jeremi Pinola. You can find more episodes in Finnish on Spotify and other common podcast platforms.

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