It may (or may not!) have escaped your attention but, if you haven’t done so already, your tax will be going digital. It’s part of the government’s plans to update the way everyone settles their tax bill, whether you’re self-employed or a FTSE 100 company, and it is intended to make things easier to manage, both in terms of payment and administration. But the digital demand placed on finance teams, whether it is an internal group or an accountancy practice, is growing. And flows much wider than your end of year tax return alone. According to a recent report by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), 90% of individuals practicing within the financial industry don’t think they have the skills to meet an organisation’s digital demands. This is a global issue. ‘Digital demands’ might appear to be an abstract term that’s easy to dismiss but it encompasses a wide approach to doing business. It helps define a company’s personality, such an important concept in modern business culture. And you’d be hard pushed to find anyone that can successfully argue against the fact we’re living in a digital age. Nowadays, when it comes to financial management, from invoicing clients to tracking profit and loss, the process is expected to be operationally excellent. This includes customer experience, ease of use and more. When you throw in the additional benefits such as efficiency and reduced costs, it becomes clear how important having a well-oiled digital structure can be to a business. But all of this is underpinned by the infrastructure and skill set. Companies must be able to establish systems, monitor the market for the latest developments and advise on how new software can be implemented. Simply put: in order to deliver excellence you must invest in training staff or outsourcing to people who possess the nous. As the digital revolution gathers pace, teams are becoming ever smaller. And whilst apps, software and other developments are allowing teams to function with smaller staff numbers and therefore be more dynamic, the reduced numbers are placing increased demands on individuals to diversify their skill set. A skill set that, according to experts, just doesn’t exist. CFOs cite a lack of skills as the single biggest challenge and say it is holding back the development of their businesses. It is in this vacuum that leadership can really thrive and set the standard. It is up to senior financial employees to create a desire for those beneath them in the food chain to follow. There’s scope for a new roles and remits to be developed: a modern CFO. This new breed should be as comfortable discussing the intricacies of software application and data management as they are advising on the more traditional aspects of accountancy. Of course, it goes without saying, that at Finnies we pride ourselves on our digital know-how. We’ve been providing cutting edge financial tech support and service to our clients for many years now. It’s clear that digital is here to stay and, when harnessed correctly, can be a driving force in the success of your business.