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How has digital transformed the Finance workforce in government?

Digital modernization investments appear to have paid off

Digital modernization investments are transforming the Finance workforce within the federal government—making the finance function more of a strategic partner.

Key investments in digital modernization are transforming the Finance workforce within the federal government’s largest civilian agencies.1 A decade ago, many agencies initiated significant digital transformation programs, such as modernized enterprise resource planning migrations, that have paved the way for further modernization. Deloitte’s experience working with many of these organizations over the last decade points to increased investments in cloud, process automation, and advanced analytics that are paying dividends and reducing the need for human intervention in the finance function.

The result is a smaller financial management workforce that is shifting from transactional roles to nontransactional, value-added ones. This is borne out by the decreasing trend over the last eight years: The number of financial management positions in the federal government’s largest civilian agencies has decreased by close to 12% overall, with transactional jobs decreasing over 16% (figure 1).2 Workforce allocation in these top agencies is also approaching top private sector benchmarks: The American Productivity & Quality Center reported that companies that fall within the 25th percentile allocate 70% or more time to nontransactional Finance activities.3

This trend highlights how the Finance function has been transforming into a cross-cutting business partner that can deliver insights and help increase speed and accuracy of decisions. While the data above demonstrates the impact of digital modernization in the largest civilian agencies, smaller agencies have also been vaulted into digital modernization, as the global pandemic has required the government to roll out solutions with unprecedented speed.

Governments can take advantage of the current momentum and lessons learned over the past year-and-a-half to continue on the path of becoming a truly digital enterprise. To learn more about this path, check out Accelerated digital government.4

Finance Transformation Services

CFOs know finance transformation can be difficult and time-consuming. But they also know it’s an effective way to keep up with the changing needs of the business. Whether it’s technology disruption, business model innovation, or a new industry ecosystem, Deloitte helps finance organizations look ahead to what’s next while keeping the ship on a steady course.

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  1. This data set includes the 10 largest civilian government agencies by FY2020 Budget Authority. Source: Office of Personnel Management, “Federal Workforce Data ,” accessed June 11, 2021.

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  2. As measured by end strength, a measure of total positions filled at the end of each year, representing the headcount of all paid employees.

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  3. APQC, “Time allocation in finance ,” 2020.

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  4. Meghan Sullivan et al., Accelerated digital government: COVID-19 brings the next generation of digitization to government , Deloitte Insights, March 4, 2021.

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The authors would like to thank the research team John Park, Richa Patel, and Sam Trostle for their work on this piece.

Cover image by: Jagan Mohan

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