Next-Gen ERP: Finance Leaders Transform Into Superheroes

Michael Schmitt

Finance leaders across many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are truly modern-day business superheroes, flexing their influence across entire companies more than ever. They own responsibilities spanning regulatory compliance; treasury and asset management; investor relationships; and strategic advice to the CEO, president, or owner – all while concurrently managing their traditional finance, budgeting, and accounting functions.

Today’s finance leaders are evolving into prominence as they deal with significantly more business risks as markets change at an unrelenting pace and huge chunks of critical data become more readily available. Finance leaders don’t need “super vision” to see they must focus on making fact-driven decisions that potentially impact every area of the company – from recruiting to manufacturing and logistics.

The gauntlet is thrown

According to the SAP-sponsored Oxford Economics report, “How Finance Leadership Pays Off: Small and Midsize Business,” 82% of surveyed finance leaders are accepting this challenge. Yet, many still struggle with outdated technology and manual processes.

It’s the battle against complexity that limits their ability to efficiently execute business strategy, spending priorities, budget, and financial operations with real-time, actionable insight.

Business growth requires real-time data-driven insight

Unfortunately, some SMB finance professionals are still not seeing how technology can enhance performance and efficiency. Our friends at Oxford Economics report that only 62% of average-performing finance organizations believe that ERP platforms are important to their success, compared to 90% of large enterprises and 97% of high-performing finance areas.

The fact is, when companies grow, they need to find new ways to keep every area aligned and knowledgeable about where the business is heading. Why? Their streamlined processes and activities across the entire company impair visibility, which impedes the ability to act on timely information to drive profitable growth.

Take, for example, European Vaccine Initiative (EVI), a nonprofit network focused on developing highly effective vaccines to combat infectious diseases like Zika and Ebola.

EVI’s use of a cloud ERP solution helps project leaders instantly access real-time financial data – anytime, anywhere. They can access individualized reports that comply with country-specific requirements to view financial insights that help them stay on budget, culminating in better collaboration with global partners to fight disease.

Keeping the CEO out of jail

Many CFOs describe regulatory compliance in every country that their business touches as one of their key responsibilities. And this gives them a real challenge. In addition to frequently changing and new regulations, Europe`s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), China`s Cybersecurity Law, and accounting standards such as IFRS15 and IFRS16 need to be met.

Overcoming the brute complexities of business growth with a simplified approach to ERP

Surely, sustainable and profitable growth, customer satisfaction, and ongoing competitive advantage are top of mind for small and midsize businesses. But it is also true that an ever-evolving and growing marketplace requires continuous cost optimization and access to a broader network to outperform industry rivals of all sizes.

The bottom line is that cloud-based ERP solutions can provide the transparency and control needed to respond immediately to potential risks and opportunities. The ability to adapt rapidly and cost-effectively lowers the amount of time, effort, and cost required to address a changing marketplace. More importantly, all of this can be done without sacrificing more strategic line items in the annual budget, making the business unwavering against obstacles.


About Michael Schmitt

Dr. Michael Schmitt is the global leader of SAP Business ByDesign and responsible for the definition and execution of the overall ByDesign strategy aligned with the SAP Cloud and SME strategy. SAP Business ByDesign is SAP’s upper midmarket cloud suite solution and an essential part of SAPs entire cloud business. The orchestration of the different cross board area teams involved in SAP Business ByDesign – this includes sales, pre-sales, customer care, marketing, partner ecosystem, professional services as well as development, operations and support - is also within his area of responsibility.