Lessons for Finance Leaders

This blog looks at the findings of the latest Aberdeen research report conducted in the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic into how the CFO can leverage the digital economy to connect and transform finance teams.

KEY FINDINGS: Supported by centralised finance and streamlined accounting processes – best in class companies continue to invest and benefit from technology.

The UK vaccination programme is now well underway – for which we are hugely grateful. It means that businesses can press ahead with plans for recovery that will lead the way to future prosperity and growth.

To make sure we are prepared, we can look at three key areas, which have been pin-pointed by the Aberdeen group as giving a strong advantage. In fact, where these lessons for finance leaders have  already been learned, benefits have followed.

Top level findings;

  • 79% of best in class companies had standardised financial close procedures across the organisation
  • Best in class companies are 71% more likely to have a centralised view of financial data.
  • Best in class companies are more likely to have to have some process automation already installed.

Let’s look at those 3 lessons for finance leaders in more detail.

  1. Standardised Processes

The working practices forced on us by the pandemic have finally put paid to the idea that back-office finance functions can’t be carried out remotely. During the pandemic, those where cloud technology already existed, closed financial books accurately and on-time while keeping compliance levels high.

According to the Aberdeen research, the streamlined, standardised practices – which are part and parcel of a cloud financial system – resulted in greater levels of efficiency.

Areas of standardisation which increase efficiency

  • Standardised procedures across the organisation
  • Standard workflow for decision making – gathering the information, making and approving the decision.
  • Corporate process for budget revisions, roll-ups and approvals.
  • Financial metrics updated in real time
  • Automation of financial consolidation across separate entities

“Consistency drives reliable and repeatable processes which improves efficiency and enables automation – all key elements in digital transformation.”

  1. Centralised Data

To support an efficient and accurate financial close process, business needs a single source of truth. Multiple data repositories and closed off data silos have long been the enemy of finance efficiency.

Businesses running on software which facilitates integrated business processes have several benefits, they –

  • Serve as a complete auditable system of record
  • Allow business users to access and create reports on a self- service basis
  • Create links across departments
  • Share and integrate data with the extended enterprise
  • Control over which staff have access to which areas

These systems give decision makers unprecedented levels of access to real-time information across the business – a game changer where ever you’re working from.

“Putting data at the finger-tips of the decision-makers eliminates many roadblocks to productivity.”

  1. Process Automation

Finance is a prime candidate for process automation due to the highly repetitive nature of many of the activities which must be carried out e.g. accounts payable and procure-to-pay.  So the third of our lessons for finance leaders is that by introducing intelligent business software, CFOs can simplify their operations and free up resources. Immediate benefits include;

  • Productivity gains
  • Cost savings
  • Process efficiency

Productivity enhancements enabled by automation include:

  • Digitizing invoices
  • Intelligent Invoice scanning  Check out the video!
  • Hands free payment matching, review and approval
  • Accelerate repeatable workflows
  • Faster decision-making

Aberdeen are clear about the benefits available to those companies adopting these 3 lessons for finance leaders…

“Best-in-Class companies lead the way with centralized finance capabilities to support an efficient financial close and perform reconciliations at any time during the month while improving their efficiency in the statutory close process. Their superior data management, integration, and automation of central finance workflows define the roadmap for connecting and transforming their organizations.”

As we recover from covid related closures, the finance leaders adopting these lessons are preparing to thrive. Aberdeen are clear that this is based on continued investment in cloud technology. Those companies with modern, intelligent ERP will surely be among those best able to make the most of future opportunities as they materialize.

All quotations are taken from the How the Digital Economy can Connect and Transform Finance and Accounting. Read it here.

If you would like to know more about how to leverage the benefits of cloud ERP than please get in touch with us here

You can find out more about how cloud technology is transforming finance here