By Chris Germann, VP, Cloud Applications Strategist, Oracle
Is your company back-office lacking innovation and optimization? This is a common occurrence for many organization but that is not something to be proud of. It could be part of the reason your competitors are beating you. The following article by Chris Germann sheds some light on why Finance is usually the last to go digital.
When the pundits say “digital business,” they must not be talking about finance applications… right?
Right! A recent study of 682 business leaders by Harvard Business Review and the Genpact Research Institute revealed that for companies with more than 1,000 employees, finance ranks dead last in “reaping the full value of digital.”
Naturally, most of the energy and resources in a company are pointed at product development and customer service—so back office functions like finance often end up last on the list in terms of adopting the most current technologies.
However, now is the time to build digital technologies and cloud-based applications into financial planning and close operations. Modern financial processes offer critical support for reacting to dynamic markets, and overall business agility.
Architecting the Shorter Close
Streamlining the financial close and reporting process is going to become more of an issue with machine learning and robotics quickly coming on the scene. As an example: Finland’s Nokia Corp. expects to shed jobs as part of the transition toward a more automated finance department, and they plan to use robotics to automate tasks related to its financial reporting process, according to The Wall Street Journal.
From the HBR Genpact study: “Finance [organizations] often experience… more obstacles than IT, procurement and marketing, with a lack of talent, an inability to experiment quickly, and inefficient legacy systems causing particular concerns.”
In short, the CFO sometimes fails to see how critical it is to establish cloud-based, scalable financial operations that operate at the speed of the customer, and the speed of the business units servicing the customer.
From insuring visibility and predictability, to avoiding delays from unexpected reconciliation issues, a cloud-based modern financial close process positions financial executives as data-driven change agents instead of gate-keepers with old technology.