New generations always bring cultural change. But the millennial generation, born between the early 1980s and 2000, is driving cultural and process changes in new ways as companies across the globe seek to successfully assimilate them into the workforce. Indeed, it is the millennial generation—the first generation to grow up in a nearly all-digital world—that is steering a digital culture shift, which, as they mature in their careers and dominate boardrooms, will continue to drive the digital transformation currently underway.

The finance department is no different. According to Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the Association for Finance Professionals, “By 2020, millennials are going to be the dominant part of the workforce.” This new generation of finance professional is embracing change, hungry for new innovations and eager to utilise technology to make their life and jobs easier and drive profitability within the enterprise.

[easy-tweet tweet=”New generations always bring cultural change.” hashtags=”tech, cloud”]

Key characteristics of the millennial generation that are impacting both technology and process in companies—and specifically finance departments—across the globe:

  1. Millennials adopt quicker – a combination of existing technical skills and “no technology fear” means that uptake happens much more quickly
  2. Change makes for progress – a generation that has been used to many new iterations of devices and software results in an appetite for change
  3. Tech advocates outside the IT department – while traditionally technology was implemented through the IT department, millennials are more tech savvy and have a “self-service” mentality
  4. Putting the user experience first – it’s all about a smooth and seamless experience. If technology helps get the job done better, it will be adopted, simple as that
  5. Multi-device is a given – the millennial generation has seen and embraced a number of new devices with newer devices coming along more and more often. And they expect the same services and software to always be available no matter what device they are using
  6. Trust in the cloud – with a faster adoption cycle and solutions which can be deployed in hours rather than weeks or months

Cloud services, with their inherent flexibility and ability to be deployed on demand, are pivotal to the ongoing changes and their increased adoption underscores how the finance function is evolving. In a recent CFO Indicator report, based on a global survey of 377 CFOs, CFOs reported that cloud technology is on the rise, with 33 percent of them citing their current IT infrastructure is already SaaS-based, and 60 percent expecting their infrastructure to be SaaS-based over the next four years.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Expectations for real-time access to data means it is no longer acceptable for budget reports” hashtags=”tech, cloud”]

The ongoing adoption of cloud technologies for finance functions, such as planning, budgeting, reporting, and consolidation, is also triggering process changes in the finance organization. Collaboration between finance and other functions, such as sales, HR, and manufacturing, is enhanced by cloud-solutions that enable a “single source of truth”—where finance and business users alike can leverage a single version of data. And, millennials’ expectations for real-time access to data means it is no longer acceptable for budget reports and analysis to take weeks, if not months.

As millennials continue to join and move up through the workforce, organizations will have to adapt to these tech-savvy professionals.

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Rob Douglas, VP for UK & I for Adaptive Insights As vice president of Adaptive Insights for the UK and Ireland, Rob is responsible for leading operations and customer satisfaction within the UK and Ireland market.  With more than twenty years in the financial planning and data analytics industry he is completely adept at understanding customer painpoints with legacy systems and is a specialist at identifying ways to alleviate these.  Prior to his role at Adaptive Insights, Rob spent more than seven years at IBM within their Business Analytics unit, following IBM's acquisition of Cognos, where Rob had spent nearly five years working with companies to do more with their data.