Navigating Finance Transformation With AI…Factors For Success

Catherine Drysdale FCA Consultant with Barden’s Technology Practice with Barden was recently invited to speak at the ‘Lets Talk’ event hosted by DCU. The topic of the event was ‘Navigating Finance Transformation With AI’ with a focus on ‘Factors For Success’. Here in the first blog of a 3 part series, Catherine shares her insights from the event…

I recently had the opportunity to speak at an event in DCU, the University where I completed my Degree in Business back in 2001. It had been a while since I was in the Business School, and it was a privilege to be invited back to present on the topic of Finance transformation and AI. On the day, I also had the opportunity to listen to other speakers and gain insights across varying industries and areas of specialism.

During the event I spoke about how my finance career has evolved, the nature of the finance functions I have led and my strategies for navigating finance transformation, all with the goal of cultivating a finance function that is more agile and scalable. I explored the success factors attained through the adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Data Analytics (Alteryx) during my tenure at ESW. In this article I will share insights from the event including the:

  • Evolving landscape of the finance function
  • Variables impacting transformation
  • Factors driving success in transformation

Evolving Landscape of the Finance Function 

Throughout my tenure in finance across different organisations, I’ve been involved in numerous finance transformation initiatives, encompassing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations, revenue system solutioning and roll out,  scoping and deployment of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and data science & analytical tools such as Alteryx. Irrespective of industry, company size, or stage of maturity, the goals for these projects were clear:

  • To create an agile & scalable finance function that has the ability to respond quickly to expected, & more importantly, unexpected changes in the business & the external environment.
  • Establish robust governance and controls across every facet of the finance function and the broader business landscape.
  • Empowering finance functions and accounting professionals to contribute tangible value to the business by fostering business partnerships, offering strategic support, leveraging data and analytical capabilities, and serving as trusted business advisors. This marks a significant departure from the era of mere number crunching and operating within heavily manual environments.
  • Pave the way for new landscape and opportunities for finance professionals, marked by a notable transition from conventional accounting roles to positions demanding technical proficiency and versatile skills.


As the finance function shifts from its ‘traditional’ model to an ‘Intelligent’(1)  approach, the skill sets expected from finance and accounting professionals will naturally shift and evolve. These roles will increasingly demand individuals with technical proficiency and advanced analytical skills. Organisations that fail to adapt and modernise may encounter challenges in recruiting and retaining talent in the future.

Look out for part 2 of the series coming next week.

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