Why Business Intelligence Is Critical for Today’s Finance Leaders

Agents of change. This moniker has been used for years to describe individuals that promote new ways of working within their organization. Whether it is improving processes, adopting technology, or transforming their business structure, these innovators know that there is a better way of doing things—and they drive that change forward.

In the pandemic, financial teams have effectively maintained accountability for their company’s finance functions while refocusing their efforts on vital strategic tasks.

These forward-thinking leaders have moved away from previous responsibilities. They’re focusing on improving operations with the right people, processes, and technology and finding new, adaptable ways to lead. 

Today’s finance leaders are stepping into a new role—optimizing business intelligence to become an agent of change.

Embracing Your New Strategic Role

The finance team is critical for understanding budgets, cash flow analysis, and planning for expenditures. With the shift in our global environment, they are now thinking about the organization’s goals as a whole and how finance can mirror and support those goals. 

Today, these leaders are making strategic recommendations in addition to pulling together financial information. They’re looking at current operational efficiency, reducing costs, and identifying new opportunities across the business.

The finance function is beginning to break down silos while discovering new ways to enhance reporting to provide other departments relevant information. Companies are seeing the benefit of understanding the financial implications of their actions, and the overall organization is improving because of this increase in data.

Data Empowers Decision-Making

For financial leaders, a key goal is to transform their available data into business intelligence. And the main priority for them is to implement the right tools and methods to better leverage the numbers.

When planning and modeling, these future-focused leaders are looking forward and anticipating what the organization will need. They’re analyzing what controls need to be in place and potential variances. They’re evaluating at an operational level and basing their decisions on specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound results.

Ultimately, they’re using data to help their organizations improve, expand, and forecast future conditions. They’re determining company needs and seeing how those fit with long-term goals while building operational objectives and focusing on key initiatives and projects. Finance leaders are looking at their business’s vision for the future and tangibly solidifying the organization’s purpose.

Technology helps to inform this decision-making process. For increased adaptability in uncertain times, the need to compare the numbers in the forecasts against what’s actually occurring has never been higher.

As we’ve all learned in the past year, things rarely go as planned, and leaning into data-driven business intelligence is the key to maintaining a competitive advantage.

The Cost-Benefit of Automation

Automation is a strategic partner to help capture this critical data. One of finance’s vital roles is to help others in the organization understand cost implications. And technology is there to translate this information in ways that are understandable across the company.

This increase in business intelligence will also help with market competition and provide insight that will give your company an advantage over the rest of the industry. Additionally, the automation of processes will improve efficiency at an operational level by eliminating a heavily manual workload, reducing financial close time, and improving the overall reporting process.

During the pandemic, the organizations that thrived were the ones that pivoted immediately. These finance teams saw what was before them and strategized to ensure success during this critical time. With data-driven business intelligence at the forefront of their minds, finance leaders today are utilizing technology to help embrace their new roles as agents of change.

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