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How Technology Unlocks the Valuable Resources Inside the Office of Finance

January 8, 2020
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Accountants and finance staff dedicate a lot of time and effort to learn their vocation. Today’s businesses need that expertise to stay competitive and they look to the CFO and the office of finance to help the organization reach its goals. Yet, many finance team members are left executing manual tasks as a large part of their job.

These manual tasks prevent them from doing the higher-level thinking that they were trained for and hired to do. The good news is there are ways to get the finance team back to doing what they love best, and what your company needs from them the most. Technology adoption in the office of finance removes the burden of manual tasks, adds automation, and increases access to analytics so that the finance team can add exponentially more value to the business.

The Effect of Manual Processes

In the age of digital transformation, businesses are more sensitive than ever to siloed systems and manual data entry. So, the impacts of manual processes on the finance team, and in turn, their ability to help the business, should come as no surprise. There are other, significant effects that these processes have, though, that may not be as obvious.

Data entry errors happen at an alarming rate when information is manually processed. Whether what’s being entered is the details of an invoice, or copying numbers from one spreadsheet to another, the chance for errors is high. The negative result on the finance team is two-fold. First, pointless hours are spent on reviewing data quality in an attempt to provide accurate information and analysis. Second, the errors that do make it through make the information contained in reports highly suspect. When many errors get through, the business begins to question the trustworthiness and viability of the reporting they receive.

Combined, these elements reduce the effectiveness of the office of finance and limits the faith the organization has in what the team provides. Not only does this leave the business with questionable information, but it erodes the finance team’s confidence and enjoyment in their work. Instead of doing what they were trained for, they are left with unfulfilling busy-work and business partners that questions their output and analysis. The likelihood of turnover is high.

What the business needs, and what the office of finance wants to do, is meaningful analysis of financial data to help drive the business. While manual processes create blockers, technology is the key that unlocks finance’s potential.

The Business Value of Finance Technology

Adding technology to the office of finance goes far beyond solving the above problems, although it certainly increases accuracy, reduces busywork, and opens up more opportunities for job satisfaction.

Technology also creates a more mature finance organization and, consequently, a company better poised to reach its goals and address market pressures. With the addition of applications that eliminates tedious tasks comes the enablement of higher-level thinking by the finance team. These resources become better able to address and apply their skills to the 4 key areas that signal a mature organization, according to Gartner: planning and budgeting, integrated financial planning, management and performance mapping, and forecasting and modeling.

Financial technology frees up time in the office of finance, but it also removes immature and rigid tools, like spreadsheets, from the process. Thanks to accurate data, data integration, and reporting and analysis tools, finance teams that are provided with purpose-built financial software tools are empowered to answer why things are happening, not just what. This positions the office of finance to provide deep analysis and actionable insights that become business drivers.

Without adequate technology, the office of finance is held back from work that is meaningful both to the business and to the individual finance team members. Their training and experience position them to be valuable assets to organizational growth, but manual, error-prone processes prevent them from providing that value. Technology and purpose-built finance applications limit tedious tasks and enables the office of finance to become a crucial partner to the business in reaching its goals.

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