Finance is changing.
Of course, it still needs to record and manage inventories, payrolls, cash flows, working capital, and taxes, as well as prepare the monthly and annual forecasts and financial statements. That goes without saying.
However, in today’s volatile economic conditions, boards of directors and other C-suite executives are looking for more. They expect finance professionals to take on the role of strategist and catalyst, providing the financial insights, forecasts, and other information they need in order to understand the impact of different financial scenarios and drive the business forward.
So how can finance executives deliver what is expected of them? By taking these three steps.
Simplify, standardize, and automate
First, financial processes need to be simplified, standardized, and automated as far as possible. Core processes such as payables, receivables, invoices, treasury transfers, journals, and capital expenditures must be workflow-enabled, and when transactions require human intervention, they must be capable of being carried out anytime and anywhere.
Organizations need to move to a daily soft close or virtual close as the norm, made possible by consolidated entity reporting, central process execution, and visual close management tools. To achieve this, today’s fragmented data silos will need to be replaced with a single source of the truth that is capable of delivering real-time company-wide data.
Deliver data-driven insights
With the first two steps taken care of, CFOs will have the opportunity to spend more of their time delivering the data-driven insights they and their C-suite colleagues need to make smarter decisions.
To accomplish this, finance will need to adopt sophisticated planning and analytical tools that are capable of delivering real-time, scenario-based planning, cost modeling, and risk simulations, so executives can evaluate different strategy options and decide on the best course of action. With this requirement, it is no surprise that 80% of the individuals surveyed were already using an analytics tool, up from 65% the year earlier.
Finance organizations are looking for ways to take advantage of new technology and the advances in automation, planning, and analytics quickly, without major disruption to the business. However, companies with complex heterogeneous landscapes are wary of the potential disruption to their business. These organizations need to look for solutions that both support innovation adoption and provide business continuity.
Expectations of the CFO’s role are changing, and now is the time to act. It will mean going digital – maximizing the benefits to be gained from mobile, cloud computing, in-memory technology, and operational and predictive analytics. It will mean running live, with real-time data and transactions. It will require reimagining finance processes to streamline and automate them. For those that make the grade, the prize will be a seat at the top table as a strategist and catalyst.
Get the full, live picture of how technology is allowing finance organizations to reinvent themselves at the 2016 SAP Financial Excellence Forum, October 11-12, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Join Deloitte at the Central Finance track to find out more about how to take advantage of new technology with minimal disruption. Get insights about advanced reporting at segment, entity, and group level; scalable execution of local and central processes; and a transformation platform for the digital business. Learn more about Central Finance uses cases, too.
Learn about the 2016 SAP Financial Excellence Forum here.