Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Finance’s role in public sector transformation


The role of finance has always undergone constant change, but today this is happening faster than ever because of wider organisational developments in digital modelling, automation, data science and cloud computing. This report by CIPFA and Eduserv examines the impact of changes on the finance profession.






CIPFA and Eduserv


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This joint research report by CIPFA and Eduserv examines the impact of changes on the finance profession as a whole, and on public sector finance leaders in particular. It considers organisational developments such as: 

  • digital operating models that create new vulnerabilities alongside business opportunity 
  • greater automation and self-service, reducing the scope of manual intervention and oversight 
  • automated supply chains and digital procurement 
  • distributed solutions for resource management, making resource tracking and value measurement more difficult 
  • IT developments, such as AI and cloud computing, making data flows complex and risks of abuse potentially higher 
  • the emergence of data and information science that builds new value opportunities but requires new skills to harness that value  
  • growing challenges for auditors in validating risk, asset control and business performance. 

It studies the main digital trends affecting finance functions, including some of the newer technologies such as AI and Blockchain. It also looks at the changing nature of public services, such as greater commercialisation, as some local councils aim to become grant independent, by securing new income from developing new services and by maximising existing revenue streams. 

The research in this report emerges from a survey and interviews with over 230 CIPFA members. This was accompanied by qualitative research from two round table sessions in London and Stafford and numerous discussions with professionals working with CIPFA and Eduserv. 

The report examines in particular how finance professionals view their organisation’s progress with digital strategies and transformation needs and whether or not the full potential is being reached, either internally or externally. A summary of the report is available here [PDF 8kb].