The right foundations changes everything
The Digital Renaissance

What the Finance Function Can Be, and How to Get There

Finance is not simply reporting results. Finance includes making the right strategic planning decisions to move the business forward, determining where to use capital and assets for the greatest gain, closing quickly and accurately, and yes, generating accurate reporting that drives decision-making. Finance professionals, from the office of the CFO down through the organization, can and should be value creators within the organization, not simply scorekeepers reporting on what happened.

Some of the challenges faced by organizations today that make it crucial for finance to add this value include supply chain disruptions, price swings in raw materials, and new rules and regulations. To enable finance departments to play this pivotal role with their companies requires that the right tools and processes are in place.

Tools to help finance provide the most value

Modern enterprise performance management cloud applications put finance professionals in a position to add the most value. Manual processes, such as financial and management reporting done in spreadsheets, can be replaced with automated solutions that enable narrative reporting. Also, profitability and cost management tools can provide granular insights for better decision-making. These applications help organizations understand where profit exists and make more informed decisions in a disruptive business environment.

Increased forecasting accuracy and reduced complexity in the annual planning process can be made possible by leveraging modern technology that streamlines planning and forecasting processes. By utilizing tools like AI and machine learning, organizations can capture human wisdom and identify root causes for better planning and forecasting. This enables them to make more accurate predictions and take proactive actions. Also, AI can automate tasks like account reconciliations and tax reporting and enable organizations to analyze large volumes of data quickly and derive meaningful insights.

Processes to help finance provide the most value

As finance teams develop new capabilities, it is going to benefit both the function and the company to make sure the group, from the CFO down, is integrated into other groups for enterprise decision-making processes. Also, as new technology is deployed, it is crucial for finance to work closely with the right partners to leverage their expertise and support. This collaboration can help finance departments optimize their use of modern technology and stay updated with the latest advancements.

Another key consideration for new technology implementations is to allow time for modernization efforts, as it is a journey rather than a one-time sprint. Rushing the process can lead to missed opportunities and incomplete transformations. There must be stakeholders involved from the beginning, to ensure that the modernization efforts align with the unique needs and goals of the organization. There should also be sufficient time for business process re-engineering to ensure that the processes being enabled align with the organization’s needs. Also needed is a cohesive design and collaboration between business users and developers to create effective solutions.

Transparency and visibility in finance can be achieved by retiring disparate and disconnected tools and processes. By working off a single source of truth, organizations can systematically unlock actionable insights, make informed decisions, and help finance add the most value, not simply completing tasks.

A step towards value maximization in your finance group

It can be difficult to start a transformation process, one involving both technology and process changes. However, a simple way to investigate the options is to start with an assessment of the finance function. Understanding where the business is now and where it wants to go aligns executive vision with system capabilities. From this point, decisions can be made around potential implementation of enterprise performance management and business intelligence tools.

Maximizing the value of the finance function is not a one-time event but a continuous journey that requires careful planning, involvement of stakeholders, and collaboration with vendors and alliance partners. When the time is right for an organization to undergo a technology and process transformation in finance, it can lead to an upleveling of the function, helping the business quickly adapt to changing conditions and thrive in a disruptive environment.

To learn what two different companies are doing with their respective finance technology and processes, watch the replay of this webcast with FIS Global and Leidos leaders, or contact us today.