Finance Transformation or Finance Automation?

Posted by Audit Advisory on 12/09/2012 at 12:44 PM in Data Analytics, Finance Transformation Permalink Comments (4) TrackBack (0)

Formula 1 carA large number of organisations are currently going through one form of Finance Transformation or another, driven partly as a result of the need for the CFO to be more engaged with their organisation as a strategic change resource rather than a function which solely produces numbers.

A recent Deloitte survey found that, on average, CFOs aspire to spend about 60% of their time as a catalyst for change. But, while many CFOs seek to ensure their finance function delivers change, their function is often ill equipped to go beyond the numbers and often resist any change in the status quo.

A reason for this status quo is the CFO’s lack of confidence in what I call the “roots to the shoots” of finance’s operational processes and activities. Finance functions are so busy dealing with turning the handle in order to get the numbers out that the CFO and strategic finance leaders are not able to focus on actually driving and influencing change.

In order to lead effective change, finance has to ensure that they have a high level of confidence and control in the completeness and timeliness of those key finance activities that underpin their function. Activities such as the balance sheet reconciliations they undertake, the financial reporting and disclosure activities, consolidation tasks, management accounting and reporting of FP and A activities.

The challenge for a CFO is how to best achieve this degree of financial confidence and control? Organisations always talk about People, Process and Technology as the drivers or steps required for change, but rarely talk about how this is actually implemented. To achieve effective control and confidence in their operational finance activities, having the best people in the job is by far the most important factor to drive success.

The operating model and its design structure they should fall into are as equally important. What comes next is technology and this is where the value and benefits such as efficiency and effectiveness and a real return on value is realised. Putting in place solutions which enable automation of activities such as the matching and governance around balance sheet reconciliations lead to significant productivity and resource savings and lead to an increase in integrity of the organisations Balance Sheet. 

Solutions that provide electronic workflow capabilities around the financial close as well as task management capabilities and open item management are emergent in the finance automation arena.  Visualisation technologies are also making inroads enabling finance teams to automate the production of their monthly management accounts for instance and allowing senior finance managers to carry this data on mobile tablets.

The net effect of this automation is that the final step in the Finance transformation journey which is the “process” step and where the CFO wants to be, to implement change in the organisation becomes a feasible reality as well as an impactful driven experience. Finance automation can deliver true alignment with finance and the business providing a clear line of sight when the time comes to implement commercial change and “business transformation” which is the intended outcome of Finance Automation.

To find out more about Finance Transformation see our dedicated blog

Navaid HasanNavaid Hasan
Navaid is a Senior Manager in Deloitte’s Enterprise Risk Services practice specialising in Finance Transformation, Finance Analytics and Business Intelligence.  
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Comments

  • Having the best people in the job is by far the most important factor to drive success is right 'on the money' in my mind and as number two you have technology as driving value and benefits such as efficiency and effectiveness.

    However as we see on an ongoing basis this shouldn't be just any old technology; additionally we shouldn't consider that the technologies that we have seen before or experienced before are necessarily the best technologies to implement.

    Electronic Workflow is not a new technology but the way it is implemented, managed and integrated with core business processes and the way people think is fundamental. More importantly, the ability to adapt them according to the way the business is redirecting the ship retains the effectiveness model.

    Many companies have implemented electronic workflow but haven't reaped rewards in a sustainable way because they never adapted the technology models to the way the business changes.

    I like your compartmentalized dialog on this topic and look forward to reading more.

    Posted by: C Jones on 11/07/2012 at 11:44 AM

  • The blog on the finance automation were great and it were real informative ...

    Posted by: Donnas Robet on 10/26/2012 at 08:15 AM

  • Thank you for your kind comments. Would be happy for you to link this to your rss feed.

    What areas of finance automation are you involved in / experiencing ?

    Regards

    Navaid

    Posted by: Navaid on 10/02/2012 at 10:40 PM

  • Just need to say your article is striking. The clearness inside your put up is merely spectacular and i can take for granted you’re an expert on this field. Properly with your permission enable me to grab your rss feed to preserve up to date with forthcoming put up. Thank you a million and please preserve up the successful function.

    Posted by: Richard on 09/26/2012 at 06:39 AM

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