Article

Busi­ness Transformation

The foun­da­tions of a future-ready finance function

August 18, 2021

The finance func­tion has tra­di­tion­al­ly played a more sup­port­ive role instead of an advi­so­ry one with­in many organ­i­sa­tions. Many finance func­tions tend to focus on their oper­a­tional activ­i­ties instead of giv­ing strate­gic insights. As a result, finance depart­ments risk being reduced to serv­ing an efficiency-first sup­port role.

Com­pound­ing this is the real­i­ty that inno­va­tion hasn’t yet become a com­mon fix­ture in finance depart­ments. Many finance teams are bogged down by time-consuming data entry, man­u­al process­es, crum­pled receipts, sta­pled invoic­es, and out­dat­ed spread­sheets that must be pored over before the end of every month. This means that there’s a lot of poten­tial data — and poten­tial rev­enue — left on the table.

 

Get­ting the build­ing blocks early

Trans­form­ing finance func­tions to be at the heart of the decision-making and val­ue cre­ation process is chal­leng­ing and can­not be achieved overnight.

Dif­fer­ent organ­i­sa­tions have dif­fer­ent ideas of what they want from their finance func­tion. Some might want it to be more proac­tive and focused on analy­sis plan­ning. Oth­ers might want to stream­line trans­ac­tion­al ele­ments and bring a lev­el of automa­tion or process reengi­neer­ing into the over­all process.

Regard­less of the rea­son, the goal is the same: A finance func­tion that is agile, inte­grat­ed and customer-led, and can sup­port the organ­i­sa­tion in deal­ing with the uncer­tain­ties and obsta­cles of an ever-evolving world. This requires a finance func­tion that:

  • Enables the organ­i­sa­tion to deliv­er its objec­tives in the con­text of stake­hold­er expectations
  • Deliv­ers action­able insights that sup­port strate­gic and oper­a­tional deci­sions, cre­at­ing val­ue and man­ag­ing opportunities
  • Pro­vides con­fi­dence and trust in data, process­es, sys­tems and reporting
  • Com­mu­ni­cates in an inte­grat­ed and time­ly way to pro­vide a holis­tic pic­ture of performance

 

Iden­ti­fy­ing the areas of transformation

Before finance func­tions can become future-ready, organ­i­sa­tions must first get their house in order. This includes defin­ing the organ­i­sa­tion’s over­all strat­e­gy and look­ing at points of change with­in the busi­ness. This will lay the foun­da­tion for a trans­for­ma­tion that’s holis­tic and sustainable.

Let’s take a look at some of the key areas of transformation:

  • Stream­lin­ing process­es
    Mak­ing process­es fit for pur­pose ensures that work­load is reduced across all finan­cial activ­i­ties with­out com­pro­mis­ing pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and efficiency.
  • Improv­ing report­ing
    Busi­ness­es need to shift pri­or­i­ties by redis­trib­ut­ing the time spent on per­form­ing con­sol­i­da­tion, mak­ing adjust­ments and gen­er­at­ing reports, towards work focused on analy­sis for insights.
  • Redefin­ing engage­ment mod­els
    By redefin­ing the engage­ment mod­els between dif­fer­ent busi­ness func­tions and finance, and between busi­ness units and share­hold­ers, organ­i­sa­tions can enhance infor­ma­tion shar­ing of infor­ma­tion and improve the decision-making process at all levels.
  • Imple­ment­ing dig­i­tal solu­tions and automa­tion
    Best-fit dig­i­tal solu­tions and automa­tion can go a long way towards enhanc­ing the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of finance func­tions by mak­ing data-driven decision-making avail­able on demand through cloud-based solutions.
  • Review­ing exist­ing organ­i­sa­tion struc­tures
    Review­ing and clear­ly defin­ing the future oper­at­ing mod­el, roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties of the finance func­tion enables organ­i­sa­tions to get the right peo­ple with the right skillsets in the right departments.

 

Mak­ing the changes sustainable

Address­ing the needs of the organ­i­sa­tion in a sys­tem­at­ic man­ner involves a thor­ough analy­sis of the cur­rent state of the busi­ness before mov­ing on to the trans­for­ma­tion journey.

A com­pre­hen­sive finance trans­for­ma­tion roadmap allows the organ­i­sa­tion to exe­cute, deliv­er and imple­ment the oppor­tu­ni­ties for change uncov­ered dur­ing the analy­sis phase. This brings a sus­tain­able com­pet­i­tive advan­tage required for the organ­i­sa­tion from a finance perspective.

Change is a neces­si­ty, and the finance func­tion needs change to be ready for the future. It can be the engine room for val­ue cre­ation with­in an organ­i­sa­tion, pro­vid­ing valu­able insights to inform strate­gic decisions.

 


Dis­cov­er the frame­work to imple­ment suc­cess­ful finance trans­for­ma­tion in our white paper, Win­ning Finance Trans­for­ma­tion: Har­ness­ing the Full Val­ue of the Finance Func­tion.

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