A Guide To Digital Transformation in Finance
Finance leaders are spinning more plates than ever before. Conducting business seems to grow in complexity by the day, and then there’s the ‘data deluge’ to contend with. Traditional decision-making used historical data to inform strategy and assess performance. Now, finance leaders have an abundance of data to interpret. As a result, the face of the finance team is changing. No longer are they reconcilers and chasers, they have become real-time and predictive analysts.
With immediate access to data from across departments, regardless of geographic location, finance is firmly at the centre of business operations. Finance leaders are discovering that, hidden within the data deluge, a world of opportunity is waiting to be unearthed. A close relationship with real-time data means a business can quickly adapt and seize opportunities.
What’s Keeping CFOs Awake at Night?
CFOs are now accountable for a lot more than just numbers. According to Sage, 55% are now responsible for data privacy, digitalisation and investing in technology. A recent survey by Sage confirmed, “today, the primary driver of digital transformation in mid-size businesses is the finance professional, with six in ten financial decision makers driving change.”
Digital transformation is knocking at the door of finance leaders, adding to what is usually an already busy workload:
- IT security
- Harvesting data
- Delivering insights
- Upskilling the finance team
Start-ups tend to adopt a data-first approach from the outset. Larger, established companies are naturally slower to change. Understanding where to go and how to get there are the real challenges facing business leaders. Amid a sea of apparent opportunity, how can established companies facilitate data-first decision-making?
Dig-itise for Victory
Digitalisation might sound like a mountain to climb but in recent years, digital transformation in finance has become significantly easier to implement and faster to deliver a return. Today’s ERP solutions positively impact accuracy, data governance, strategic and financial planning, and efficiency. For instance, cloud technology can decrease the risk of data breaches. With enhanced levels of verification, cloud-based ERP secures company data using a more comprehensive method.
To unburden finance professionals of onerous, repetitive tasks such as order-to-cash and transactional accounting, digitisation of finance automates such processes. This is by no means the beginning of the end of finance teams. Instead, finance takes the lead in business management:
- Tax and Treasury
- Inland Revenue
However, 77% agreed finance will be unable to provide insights if they do not invest in financial management technology (source: Sage). As the world of finance becomes more complex, digitisation of finance ensures teams remain agile. With the support of automation, finance processes are radically simplified. People have more time to focus on analysis and innovation. The digitisation of finance unleashes the capacity for people to add value.
The Evolution of Finance
The finance team are now critical in providing up-to-date performance information, financial analysis, and forecasting, to support the business in rapid response decision making. When once, finance leaders would use historical data to steer a business in the right direction, now real-time data and predictive analytics has changed the dynamics of decision-making.
There is certainly no more ‘gut feeling’ or intuition steering the ship. Decisions are made in real-time. Spreadsheets are being swapped out for customised, role-based dashboards, delivering up-to-the-minute insights.
Today’s finance team must be highly versatile, blending accountancy, analytics, and strategy, in one dynamic team. To harness the benefits of top-level performance visibility, finance teams need the right tool for the job.
Adopting a Data-First Approach
When decision makers are spending just as much time collecting and preparing data as they are analysing it, a lack of automation and unconnected legacy systems severely limit overall productivity. The role of finance in digital transformation may seem onerous but finance teams are best placed to lead a business in the right direction.
The right financial management software will deliver on digital transformation in one fell swoop. 86% confirm automation has already improved business productivity, illustrating the need for streamlined processes (source: Sage).
Implemented and configured correctly, and tailored to the individual business, financial management ERP software solutions drive efficiency and accuracy from the get-go. Connecting applications and microservices, today’s ERP specialists join all the dots, and bridge all the gaps. Cloud-based ERP ensures financial management software is always up to date, and on the latest software release.
Digital Transformation Begins with Finance
Steering the direction of a business, avoiding the cost of external disruption, and identifying opportunities, must be driven by data. Deriving insights from the vast quantity of data a business creates, is where cloud based ERP comes in. ERP systems go beyond traditional financial reporting software. Instead, ERP collates data from every process, in every department, at every location.
As a business management tool, tailored ERP solutions evolve capabilities and reveal where business priorities lie. Whichever sector a business operates within, a digital core is now vital.