In today’s fast-paced, digital world, CFOs are realising that they need more accurate and timelier data for data analysis, reporting, budgeting, and forecasting in order to become a partner to the broader business.
However, in order to help achieve the aspirations of the CFO, Finance Departments must have the appropriate processes in place along with the support of technology.
For more about the importance of the right processes, read the first half of this blog: CFOs Reach High, Fall Short.
Rising to the Challenges of Modern Finance
With the speed and demands of modern business, not just any technology will support the CFO’s goals. It needs to be flexible, fast, and fail-proof. But few solutions will be able to provide the on-demand insights that are needed for Finance to move at the pace of Business, because that requires access to live data across Shared Service Centers all over the globe.
Finance Departments themselves also need the assistance of advanced technology like Robotic Process Automation to rise to the challenges of modern finance, and focus on value-adding activities like forecasting. While many technologies offer more hype than substance, this technology does exist and it can not only help meet the CFO’s enterprise-level goals, but also achieve the internal, department-facing priorities.
The reality is that despite growing ambitions on an enterprise-level, CFOs’ and finance professionals’ priorities for Finance Departments have not significantly changed over recent years. Their list of priorities expands, but rather than altering or shifting top priorities, the focus on the top priorities has intensified.
For example, similar to surveys in previous years, Financial Executive Research Foundation and Proviti's 2016 Finance Priorities Survey finds that period-end close processes continue to be a top priority for finance professionals — and this has been the case year after year, as organizations continue to strive toward greater efficiencies in closing processes.
While the period end close continues to become an increasingly high priority, the demand for speed and accuracy in finance also intensifies. Additionally, how CFOs and finance professionals can achieve their goals will become an increasingly persistent problem that modern technology will have to help solve.
Financial Executive Research Foundation and Proviti's survey itself states that “as these expectations grow without comparable increases in staffing, finance functions need to consider acquiring and implementing finance governance technology that can reduce errors, accelerate consolidation and closing activities, and improve access to documentation amid growing regulatory and competitive pressures.”
CFOs are looking for technology to incorporate controls and more risk management, but they also need to consider the other functions they want financial software to fill — like helping them achieve these enterprise-level finance goals, discovered in a 2017 survey by The Hackett Group:
- Formulate strategy with the business
- Support enterprise information and analytics needs
- Achieve and maintain a competitive enterprise cost structure
- Improve the effectiveness of company decision-making
- Manage enterprise risk
Technology can do more than reduce errors, accelerate and consolidate closing activities, and improve access to documentation. It can also provide the platform and insights that CFOs need for profitability analysis and reporting processes. It can even help CFOs meet their businesses’ demands to improve the ability to analyze big data and ensure financial and risk analyses are as precise and current as possible.
For further information, call +44 (0)203 866 8800, view our BlackLine solution page, or register for the upcoming Automating Account Reconciliations webinar, which will demonstrate how to drive accuracy in month end and period end closing activities by automating and standardising the reconciliation process: