" Claire Osmundsen-Little, Finance Leader of the Year 2022, is an advocate of using digital solutions for transformation.

By Joanna Argent, Writer, GENCFO

Claire Osmundsen-Little

Executive Director of Finance

Digital Health & Care Wales

Claire Osmundsen-Little, Finance Leader of the Year 2022, is an advocate of using digital solutions for transformation. 

For her, it means they can afford to provide a more effective service within the NHS in Wales. 

Claire’s journey to being Executive Director of Finance within an NHS organisation is an interesting one - including her Finance Leader of the Year win at the Digital Finance Function Awards 2022.

Claire’s journey

Claire’s finance experience started in the steel industry. As a senior qualified accountant with an MBA under her belt, she was able to experience living in several different countries, leading numerous cost strategies and delivery of transformational initiatives. 

Proud to be Welsh, she has been back in her homeland for the last 8 years, moving to the public sector to work for the NHS. 

She is now in a leading role within Digital Health and Care Wales, and last year, she won Finance Leader of the Year at the GENCFO Digital Finance Function Awards.

Claire states that her current role focuses on “finding efficiencies from a finance function point of view whilst providing new digital solutions to our nation”.  

Digital solutions are the way forward

Whether it be within industry or the public sector, Claire believes that digital transformation allows finance teams to fund solutions that provide better value for money.   

“Finance is all about getting value for money and digital enables you to do that.”

Claire can already cite several examples where digital solutions have made a difference for the NHS in Wales, starting with work they did during the pandemic.

“We did a lot of work in the pandemic to support the development of national systems, having to design, create and deliver systems very quickly, in an agile way, with the right governance.”

They are currently shifting to a cloud-based delivery model, involving implementing a cloud-based team. There are many challenges Claire now faces in financial governance, which includes modernising the systems that run on it. 

Another initiative Claire is working on is the NHS App being implemented in Wales. This will unlock information for patients to self-serve in finding their history, appointments, or results.

This means a lower carbon footprint, faster answers and no more waiting for the postman. 

Finance leaders need education (and a dose of bravery)

Claire thinks that one of the current challenges facing finance is education.

“Finance has been attuned to an operating model that is very structural with lots of capital fixed costs. The new operating models are very much based on product based revenue digital delivery, and it’s a shift .”

This shift is about moving away from a waterfall-based capital environment where everything is pretty long-term and multi-year. Instead, they will be using a more revenue-based agile model where, although there is still a level of risk, there’s a lot of opportunity.

“Not many people understand the complexities around a digital operating model”, she says. Finance leaders need to understand what this model can offer and what value it could create for them.

Claire also had advice for peers on building their confidence to make the jump.

“I recognise that it’s very easy to say ‘no’. There’s a reluctance to move to an environment where there are less usage controls and fewer financial limits,” she says. “We can help them understand how we manage that and what the benefits are.”

Being Finance Leader of the Year

For her work at Digital Health & Care Wales, Claire won the title of Finance Leader of the Year at the 2022 Digital Finance Function Awards.

“I'm really proud of it. I wasn't expecting it. It was wonderful.”

Claire has some advice for aspiring finance leaders when it comes to digital transformation:

“Make that first step and have a go.”

“Even if  the outcome isn’t quite as planned, it may be better and  you will learn a lot and be stronger when you take on another initiative,” she says.

“Get out of your comfort zone and embrace digital!”

Inspired to fund changes that make a difference

Claire wants to fund changes that make a difference.

The challenge remains never having enough funding to deliver everything they want to do to support health and care in Wales next year. 

However, making that money stretch further, bringing an improved service or better health care efficiencies, is something she is excited to do.

If you would like to nominate someone for the 2023 Finance Leader of the Year (or any other category), nominations are open now! Explore the categories and make a nomination here.

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Joanna Argent, Writer, GENCFO

Joanna is an interviewer and writer at GENCFO. Read her finance leader and industry expert interviews for The Shift.

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