Why CFOs Need to Help Their Departments Modernize
The role of finance in business has been evolving over the past few years. Not too long ago, finance professionals were number-crunching, back-office jockeys rather than the true strategic partners they are today. CFOs specifically have been broadening their roles to support a breadth of activities. With a trusted seat at the executive table, early-stage discussions on strategies across a multitude of departments will almost always include financial leaders to offer their unique perspective of capital allocation.
Some organizations have responded to the pandemic by transforming the finance function. As the CEO of an international financial technology company, I’ve seen firsthand how the pandemic has amplified the need for digital transformation across operations. Finance leaders have been tasked with improving data visibility to level up their cash flow processes and build resilience.
Other organizations began to see finance operations as strategy drivers, helping lead change and international growth. Then, there are also those companies with their sights on going public. As you know, a successful IPO journey starts years ahead of the actual initial offering. Businesses must come prepared with strategic finance and security controls, and CFOs play a central role in that preparation process.
Today’s CFOs can now utilize their experience managing cost, compliance, and ensuring controls to refocus on larger-scale opportunities directly impacting their organizations. For finance teams to fulfill such strategic objectives and be truly valuable assets to their organizations, the time has come to modernize the finance function with the right tools to enable an effective digital finance transformation.
The Future of Finance and Digital Transformation
Although finance teams have traditionally had high head counts, modern teams are lean. They implement automation technology that eliminates manual workflows and leaves repetitive tasks to the machines and intelligent systems, enabling companies to have more rewarding growth opportunities. They’re actively building robust tech stacks to access meaningful data to facilitate rapid decision-making, reduce operational costs, and help scale operations nationally and globally.
Even though finance teams will always rely on numbers and analysis, it isn’t enough to stack the deck with financial wizards and equip employees with the latest digital finance tools. Now, finance leaders are looking for talent with soft skills that can help move companies forward. From CEOs to CFOs, successful executive leaders almost always possess high emotional IQs. Emotional intelligence has become a critical leadership quality, and teams can achieve great things when working with this mindset.
Reaping the Benefits of Finance Department Transformation
The need for digital transformation spans all organizations. If you neglect to implement the tools necessary for greater data analytics and automation in the finance space, you’ll find your enterprise quickly left behind. While it’s no small feat to rework the finance tech stack, it’s well worth the effort and can help eliminate present and future pain points. Here are just a few advantages your operation will encounter when finance and digital transformation come together:
1. Meet regulatory compliance.
With regulations becoming more demanding year over year, compliance is often a moving target for organizations. Automation technology has become essential for not only documenting ongoing compliance requirements but also driving accountability within finance teams. Through a single platform, finance leaders can track compliance processes and procedures and weigh the level of risk involved with any transaction or activity.
2. Streamline processes and procedures.
It isn’t uncommon for information bottlenecks and internal barriers to slow down even the most skilled finance team members. With the right finance automation software, the entire finance function can access a fountain of information from one centralized hub. Clear expectations and well-documented workflows are present, and an efficient solution leads to greater productivity, improved efficiency, reduced turnover, and job satisfaction gains.
3. Ensure project completion with fewer deadlines.
Poor practices in project management can keep today’s CFOs up at night. When numbers are inaccurate or delayed, finance teams need to manually correct them, which is time-consuming and tedious.
Digitalization in finance reduces the time spent on data entry and other repetitive tasks, both improving the quality of work and limiting the level of human error. Finance teams can then take on duties and responsibilities tailored to their strengths — increasing accuracy and improving productivity, engagement, and morale.
4. Accomplish business goals.
With budget constraints, talent shortages, and limited resources, finance teams always have issues to tackle to meet business objectives. The capacity simply isn’t there to complete all the necessary work within given deadlines. But advances in AI and data analytics have allowed digital finance solutions to speed up processes and derive data-driven insights from real-time information.
Even the most complicated initiative can benefit from automation technology, as it offers increased visibility, improved process capabilities, and directional guidance for finance teams.
It’s an exciting time for the finance function. Fintech is bringing data analytics and automation technology for finance teams into the mainstream. These technologies provide a wealth of digital finance tools to improve operational efficiency, reduce companywide costs, and provide data-driven insights that enable finance leaders to become the strategic partners they were always meant to be.