Finance teams are no longer siloed to deal with just numbers. As technology expands, finance teams can leverage robotic process automation and AI to take care of repetitive and time-consuming tasks. With the extra free time and enhanced technology, their role has transformed to provide strategic advice, business development assistance and more. Finance transformation is taking place in companies of all sizes, and there are best practices to maximise its benefits.
We’ll talk about what finance transformation means, its key features, how to be successful with it and automation technology that’s built to serve finance transformation.
What is Finance Transformation?
Finance transformation describes strategic initiatives that finance teams take to help improve their department and the business overall. The main goal of finance transformation is aligned with the business goal of ultimately better serving customers.
Finance transformation can be organised into three subsets namely:
Governance: This represents a finance team’s core responsibilities like accounting, budgeting and auditing. Compliance plays a big factor in this area, as does minimising costs and maintaining control.
Scale: The goal is for the finance team to help service and integrate new and growing business, such as working in new markets, company acquisitions or growth.
Services: By taking advantage of advanced analytics and insights from data, the finance team plays a role in providing better service to internal and external stakeholders and customers.
Key Features of Finance Transformation
To accomplish finance transformation successfully, there are a few aspects to manage well. These include:
Defined destination: As with any initiative, the most important thing to have is a clear objective, or goal. This includes setting targets for a finance team to meet.
Broad scope: A CFO manages many pieces of constantly changing business pieces. Finance transformation should be broad in scope to cover these responsibilities and aid in making them more efficient.
Realistic timeline: While automation solutions should be able to be deployed quickly, the entire process of finance transformation does take time. It can be a phased process so that everyone is on board and understands their responsibilities.
Multiple projects: Given both the broad scope and timing factor of finance transformation, it makes the most sense to split up the changes into steps, or multiple individual projects. This way, they can occur progressively, which not only helps with budgeting, but will also help to maintain momentum.
For all of this to take place, it’s important to have dedicated resources and a manager or leader to help drive the change forward. Additionally, finance transformation benefits from a clearly laid out plan that is openly communicated with the team. While there could be initial pushback,change management can help to push the movement forward.
Why Begin Finance Transformation?
Finance transformation creates change within an organisation, but it is change that is positive and for the good of the company. Finance teams are one of the most important departments in any business. With finance transformation, there’s added value of providing better performance, clearer insights, measured growth and decreased costs.
Finance transformation may come to light for different reasons in different businesses. For some, it’s to benefit from intelligence through automation and use data transformation to provide deep insights. For others, it could be that a specific costly incident takes place and sheds light on waste. This leads to the increased need for analysis and cost cutting procedures. Through finance transformation, you can rely on automation solutions like SolveXia to measure productivity and help highlight unnecessary expenditures. Through reports and real-time analytics, business leaders and CFOs have a bird’s eye view on the business at any given time, making it possible to make data-backed decisions.
Regardless of the reason of why it begins, finance transformation helps to:
Define processes clearly
Reduce rework and cut errors
Boost employee and customer satisfaction
Reduce compliance risk
How to be Successful?
Finance transformation is exactly that - a transformative change. This means that there could be initial pushback, especially with the introduction of new technologies and automation software. The good news is that this is possible to overcome with planned steps.
Keep in mind these best practices when implementing finance transformation in your organisation.
Vision: Make sure you outline a clear vision for everyone within your company. It’s important they align themselves with the overall business goal so that their daily activities are geared towards accomplishing the same vision.
Programme Alignment: Of course, finance transformation will cost some money and time to implement. As such, it’s necessary for its goals to align with the overall business strategy. This way, stakeholders will jump on board and support the programme.
Strong Change Management: Ultimately, the finance team will deal with every aspect of business. So, it’s important that the entire organisation is aware of the benefit of finance transformation. Change management will be required to ensure that everyone is in line to be a part of the solutions.
Take Operational View: Finance transformation will alter how different processes take place. Automation tools are not meant to replace humans, but rather, they enhance capabilities. As many processes gain boosts from being automated, people can spend time on high-level and analytical tasks. Taking an operational view is a perspective that allows team members and stakeholders to understand how each piece comes together to make a better whole.
People: At the heart of every business is its people - both the employees and customers. Great leadership is what can make or break internal teams. It’s important to both hire for culture, as well as to create a collaborative, adaptable and positive work environment so people thrive.
Do things in the right order: The foundation of finance transformation resides in the technology. By breaking up the transformation into phases, you can allocate enough time to perform due diligence and choose the right software automation tool. Take time to assess data and outline your needs. Then, you can deploy an automation tool like SolveXia which provides out-of-the-box, no-code-required and scalable solutions.
Measure progress: To ensure that your finance transformation is achieving what you set out to, continue to measure performance. This can be done by defining key performance indicators and using data and reports to show you how processes are running. This is simply done with tools like SolveXia that can run real-time reports with up-to-date analytics.
Finance transformation spans a broad array of crucial components. Combining the right people, attitude and technology software can make the transition run smoothly.
Solutions that help businesses achieve finance transformation should enable finance leaders with:
What to Transform in Finance?
Finance transformation is a process in itself. It requires resources, planning and a budget. Finance transformation entails developing an operating model that creates value for the business by both enhancing core processes and managing them accordingly. When accomplishing finance transformation, you’ll positively affect:
Business Finance: Can optimise business finance such as forecasting, budgeting, planning, performance management and the like with the aid of finance automation tools like SolveXia. SolveXia and similar automation tools can pull data from various sources, transform data into insights, and create easy-to-read reports with the click o a button.
Finance Strategies: Technology will manage low-level and repetitive tasks, freeing up time for finance teams to focus on strategy. With robotic process automation, the software can handle tasks like data entry, process execution, and reporting.
Information and systems: Connect all your information systems and centralise data for quick and efficient data processing, transformation and analytics. Whether the data is stored on-premise or in the cloud, quick, secure and easy access to data will transform your business.
Operational finance: Core finance processes can be managed through the automation solution, speeding up the financial close process, accomplishing shared services design and more.
Organisation and people: When the monotonous tasks are removed from an employees’ plate, you can open the door to greater satisfaction and growth. Finance transformation can shift your talent pool and benefit organisation design.
Process and policy: Internal and external policies such as authority delegation (access controls) and audits (audit trails) become easily controllable and standardised through finance transformation. The software will maintain records and document adjustments. Only permitted parties will have access to data and any updates made will be sealed within the documentation.
Specialised finance: Finance transformation allows for you to service your customer’s specialised needs including: accounting, treasury, tax, investor relations and mergers and acquisitions. You can leverage tools for better organisation of services and tailor messages/ reports according to your customers’ needs.
Automation Technology & Finance Transformation
Replacing traditional finance models to maximise productivity and value involves two major frameworks:
Create an agile operating model: In most cases, a finance team is hired to deal with their specific department’s tasks like budgeting, reporting and planning. With finance transformation, it’s important to create an agile operational model by which finance teams are involved in overall business strategy and planning. When the business faces a challenge or issue, the finance team can provide data-backed support to aid in decision-making.
Automation tools like SolveXia provide real-time analytics for deep insights. This type of model means that the main focus is always around customers’ needs and stakeholders’ best interest, so that decisions can be made quickly to respond to changes in the financial environment (both internally and externally). With finance transformation, each individual within the finance department has the tools they need to feel empowered and adopt an entrepreneurial and problem-solving mindset.
Build digital age finance capabilities: According to McKinsey, 40% of finance activities (revenue management, general accounting, etc.) can be automated. Therefore, when finance departments look to hire, they can shift their priorities to hire for professionals with an understanding of strategic principles. The role of finance teams then shifts to include: communicating data as information for stakeholders, leading other departments to make the best decisions for the company overall and shaping the value-creation agenda for the organisation.
A New Era of Finance Teams
Automation tools and big data have ushered in a new era of finance teams. What was once regarded to be a department that dealt with numbers, reporting and compliance has been reshaped in the name of finance transformation.
Finance transformation means that finance departments play a larger role in providing value to the organisation, being the first people to share the need for changes, provide plans to achieve operational efficiency, and help steer the business towards maximum success with the aid of data, analytics and insights. Software like SolveXia can make finance transformation possible by providing your team with centralised data storage, process automation and customisable executive dashboards that work to provide deep insights and a transparent view of your organisation’s happenings.