CFOs: Use Technology As A Stopgap

Susan Parcells

Companies are holding on to their best employees tighter than ever before. The solution to the mounting pressure to meet the needs of the digital economy is talented people, and Todd McElhatton, CFO of SAP North America, says that this is what’s keeping CFOs up at night: the war for talent.

“Without a doubt, this is one of the most crucial issues facing our industry today: recruiting, developing, and retaining talent. As we see the previous generation moving into retirement, we’re seeing fewer people come into the workforce with a finance and accounting background, and because of this, companies are fighting to retain top talent.”

CFOs are facing the challenge of how to recruit the right people to help meet the increasing demands placed on finance departments.

McElhatton explains that SAP is “doing whatever it takes to keep our best talent with us. Yet we all know that in a tight labor market, it’s becoming almost impossible to maintain a highly skilled, fully staffed workforce.”

But what if technology can help you fill the gap?

CFOs often find their employees working overtime and struggling to keep pace with the needs of the business. While able to focus on core activities, this limits finance departments’ ability to scale.

In order to complete daily work and find the bandwidth to achieve bigger, more impactful strategic initiatives, companies are turning to technology to fill in the gaps.

“When we look at the way most finance functions staff their resources,” says McElhatton, “we find that most of our time is spent on compliance and efficiency. There’s minimal focus on strategy and driving growth, but what if you embed technology into your workforce?”

Today, most companies are focused on using new technologies to optimize current business processes. They’re trying to improve cost-efficiency and add intelligence to their services. They’re also trying to make sure that they will avoid being disrupted by a new market entrance.

Industry leaders are building teams that consist of both human and machine capital. Sound too futuristic? It isn’t. It’s a realistic and reliable solution that’s achievable today.

Robotic process automation is being used in finance departments around the world. With RPA software, high-volume and low-value-added tasks can be standardized and automated. Back-office processes like procure to pay and order to cash can be completed by computers, which leaves the value-added work to the people.

Modern CFOs need to meet the demands of the digital economy and create organizations where people can thrive. But they can only do so with the help of technology.

Read this CFO Playbook to learn more about how to chart your course to finance transformation.

This article originally appeared on BlackLine Magazine and is republished by permission.


Susan Parcells

About Susan Parcells

Susan Parcells, CPA, CGMA, is senior director of Finance Transformation and Product Expert for BlackLine. Throughout her career as both an auditor and various management positions within accounting, Susan recognized that the traditionally manual processes within the financial close were not only inefficient, but often exposed companies to risk. She began to focus on process improvement around the close, helping accounting teams reduce their workload and instead use their analytical skills to focus on other value-added activities, all while enhancing controls around those processes. She now spends her time attending conferences, trade shows, and other venues to educate companies on ways in which they can optimize their financial close processes along with having great control around them. Her greatest passion is helping others, which makes her role at BlackLine a perfect fit.