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Finance Operations - trends, challenges and opportunities for finance departments

In this special supplement to our 2024 CFO survey for Central Europe, we delve deeper into the inner workings of finance departments and their evolving roles. It provides insights into the current operations of finance departments and offers a glimpse of how they are expected to evolve in the years ahead.


By harnessing the predictive perspectives of CFOs, who are at the forefront of financial decision-making, we investigate the trajectory that finance departments are expected to follow. Recognising that operations within the finance department remain at the heart of business functions, we can see that the viewpoints of CFOs carry exceptional significance. By bringing together the collective perspective of CFOs from across Central Europe, this supplement aims to unravel the key trends, challenges and opportunities that will shape the landscape of the region’s finance departments.

- CFOs are reluctant to undertake substantial reorganisation in times of uncertainty and turbulence. 30% of CFOs suggest that they have plans to conduct re-organisations, which means that this area of the market is becoming increasing stable. When it comes to readiness for change, the Business & Professional Services sector stands out from all the other – 46% expect major changes.

- The technology revolution (automation, AI, machine learning) and the availability of labour are the main challenges CFOs in the CE region are facing. Automation of lower-values processes was selected by three-quarters of the CFOs from the Business & Professional Services sector and hiring problems were most often selected by CFOs from the Energy, Utility, Mining and Financial Services sectors, as well as Manufacturing. Technological literacy and digital capabilities of companies in V4 and Baltics are higher than in other parts of the CE region.

- Half of the respondents outsource transfer pricing documentation to independent providers. When it comes to accounting functions, CFOs prefer to keep these jobs in-house, or at least in SSC/GBS centers. In terms of collaboration (such as with SSC/GBS functions or outsourcing), managers from the V4 countries emphasise the great importance of operations in ‘captive centres’ – wholly owned shared-service or R&D centres within their own value chain.

- The most effective cost-reduction measures, according to four out of five CFOs, involve increasing the automation of lower-value and repetitive activities. As noted by half of the respondents, AI and machine learning could have a substantial influence on operating expenses.

- One in three companies from the V4 countries might outsource their tax departments to third-party providers. Nearly one in three companies (30%) from the Eastern Balkans applies a managed services outsourcing model for their technology and their HR departments. Outsourcing an entire activity or function is most common in the Business & Professional Services, Construction, and Technology, Media, Telecommunication sectors.

- Access to external expertise and advanced technology drives outsourcing. CFOs recognise the benefits of outsourcing in gaining access to finance expertise and technological capabilities and processes in areas like AI and ML. The primary advantages of outsourcing arise from access to skills and knowledge, as well as technologies that the company could not develop on its own.

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