Post the turbulent pandemic, digital has penetrated every part of an organization — including finance. One of the silver linings to come out of the pandemic is the ability of organizations to work remotely and build businesses with ubiquitous processes. Technology has enabled organizations to redefine themselves with trends such as digital transformation, legacy modernization, emerging technologies, and so on.
The role of finance leaders have evolved with time, and has expanded to explore and leverage emerging technologies such as big data, AI & ML to enhance the process, and empower the workforce to drive strategy and performance. CFOs must embrace digital transformation and design processes that work seamlessly to help with business growth.
Let’s look at three digital trends in finance that will empower it to leverage data, manage security, drive strategy, and ensure success and growth.
Cloud Services: With cloud adoption increasing world-wide, CFOs must leverage cloud capabilities to its full potential. Cloud platforms offering financial accounting solutions have the ability to welcome and embrace new strategies designed by the organization. Cloud platforms allow seamless implementation of budgeting strategies into the system without having any impact on current processes.
It enables the workforce to calculate budgets remotely. Cloud has variety of tools that facilitate cost analytics, and workflow tools that can fast-track the review and approval processes.
Cloud also enables organizations to connect their data islands and bring them together. It acts as a single pane of glass for other key personnel and process drivers such as compliance, regulators, and investors. It empowers them with access to the data with complete transparency and facilitates space for real-time feedback. Properly executed, the finance-on-cloud can prove to be a valuable strategic step that helps organizations to make smarter decisions.
Automation: Automation in finance helps to automate redundant and manual processes to reduce workloads and provide data accuracy. Processes such as reimbursements and claims, payables and receivables can be automated with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools.
Automation helps make the process paperless. Automation solutions can also be built to seamlessly read invoices, check for key details such as GST number, etc., automatically approve invoices, and enter them into the list of payments that need to be processed.
Data and Analytics: Finance and accounting processes are often carried out in silos in an on-premise ERP environment due to different devices, users, and their respective geographies. The information flow is narrow and isolated which leads to reduced visibility from a macro-perspective. Insights on processes such as invoice creation, tax returns, trade information, vendor mapping and management can only be collected if there is data democratization and visibility across the board. CFOs must leverage cloud and other technologies to break these data silos and bring all the data at one place. Anyone within the organization with an internet connectivity and access rights can view and work on data remotely.
Data analytics help finance processes with deeper insights to facilitate better decision-making. Through a mix of accurate data and comprehensive accountancy reporting, data analytics helps organizations to perform better financially.
Finance processes are now expected to deliver much more than ever to support decision making and drive business outcomes. To facilitate such expectations, finance must leverage latest trends in technology to help business envision and achieve its goals. Similar to industry 4.0, finance must transition itself into finance 4.0 and help the organization to create and enable data transparency, meet workforce and customers’ expectations, and foster business growth.