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The Better Finance Podcast

May 24, 2022

In this episode, Myles Corson welcomes Joel Bernstein, CFO, Customer Success & Head of Global Finance at SAP. They discuss SAP’s business model transformation, how finance functions adapted during the pandemic to accelerate investments in digital finance, and SAP’s strategy to make environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting more transparent to become a more customer focused business.

SAP has had to embrace significant change in their transformation from a legacy business model to a cloud based business model. An integral part of the business transformation was the ability to articulate corporate purpose, as well as a clear strategy about where the business was heading, to engage and inspire its people to make a sustained change.

ESG and sustainability issues are being widely embraced by the business world at large. As regulators, including the recent proposal from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, introduce global standards on climate-related disclosures reporting requirements progress, CFOs have a valuable and critical role to play in building reliable ESG reporting processes. SAP is a frontrunner in sustainability in finance, having announced carbon neutrality by 2023, two years ahead of what they originally thought they’d be able to accomplish.

By becoming a customer focused business and considering the needs of both internal and external customers, Joel believes finance has the opportunity to be a better business partner and thought leader to drive change across the organization. 

If finance is not fully involved in transformation, it’s happening without the function, and not as a result of it. Be on the right side of that equation.

Embrace the opportunity for finance to be a business partner, thought leader, and change driver. Finance should not be the reason that things cannot change.

The importance and acceleration of ESG and sustainability in Finance is very visible, and it is taking shape in the office of the CFO. This is a unique opportunity for finance to link operational and financial data to sustainability, making a big impact to the organization and its stakeholders. 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official policy or position of EY or any other organization.

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