• Leader

Digital transformation lead

Job profile:

Advisory and consultancy

Career zone:

The transformation driver

Area of expertise

Advisory and consultancy

What is a digital transformation lead and what do they do?

This is a cross-cutting senior role that oversees a team responsible for driving the adoption of emerging technologies. The role is not technology specific and cuts across a range of areas such as the development of tools for delivering audits, integration into cloud platforms, adoption of data analytics, and visualisation and robotics tools, as well as incorporating technologies such as artificial intelligence (machine learning and natural language processing) and blockchain as they scale up.

Digital transformation leads need to be continuously scanning an evolving landscape: implementing a framework for opportunity identification to prioritise areas for transformation; managing staff for continuous scanning of latest technology developments and assessing relevance to the firm’s needs.

As this is a leadership role, they will have responsibility for winning sponsorship for projects, involving presenting to strategic investment forums, guiding proposals for projects with associated prioritisation for funding, undertaking detailed business case and ROI analysis, and agreeing critical success factors and parameters for funding. The digital transformation lead would act as a bridge between IT and finance, effectively translating between the needs of accountants and the language of product functionality and design choice. They will embrace change, adopting a practical problem-solving approach that can find a pathway from the current to target state.

Key responsibilities

Responsibilities will vary, but examples include: 


  • understanding the current digital model: building a clear picture of existing processes and technologies, pain points/bottlenecks, use of legacy or outdated systems, and resultant impacts such as missed revenue opportunities, employee or client dissatisfaction
  • defining the target digital model: providing a comprehensive vision that reimagines business and operating models across multiple teams and departments, considering organisation and external market realities,
    articulating benefits, synergies between projects and risks/dependencies and preparing a delivery roadmap
  • management across lifecycle: overseeing and leading activities across projects, and with line management across multiple types of stakeholders
  • business analysts – for requirements gathering, defining details of the specific problem to be solved, unpacking the proposed solution and breaking it down into digestible components
  • designers – to conduct user research and translate analyst outputs into initial solution design, and formalised visual design (exactly what appears on screens/clicking options, what is visible to end users); creation of prototype product
  • developers and engineers – who implement solutions to fit all the requirements
  • quality control specialists – for testing
  • project managers supporting pilot release – carrying out refinement and user-acceptance testing, and deployment in production
  • post-launch support, including responding to queries; developing training materials, user guides, activation and roll-out guides.

Why are they important?


It is a role with executive-level support, and directly contributes to the future strategic direction of the organisation.

Person specification


A digital transformation lead requires in-depth understanding of process, workflows and technologies associated with an area pertinent to accountancy and finance professionals, such as audit and assurance, taxation, reporting, risk management, and/or cybersecurity, typically gained originally through their ACCA Qualification and subsequent CPD.

They need a blend of professional expertise with product expertise to communicate with business and technology personnel. Additionally, a product management qualification covering end-to-end product development is advantageous (such as certified product manager).

The digital transformation lead must possess a strategic mindset and be able to think conceptually about future design options and their implications, as well as be passionate about emerging technologies. Exceptional stakeholder-management skills are required to ensure effective coordination across multiple stakeholder groups with competing priorities.

The lead must have a persuasive, clear and consistent communication style to build trust and obtain buy-in through the change and be able to respond to changes in direction or requirements in a fast-paced environment.

Opportunities in Fintech

Learn more about the transformative field of Fintech and what opportunities there are for finance professionals in ACCA's latest research.

Read more on the state-of-play in Fintech

Case study for this role (AB magazine interview)

Master of the digital tide

The biggest challenge facing businesses today is disruption, says EY’s digital finance lead Neil MacLean FCCA, who is supporting companies in how they adapt and thrive