As business finance functions face pressure to deal with a growing array of data sources, it becomes increasingly clear that spreadsheet-based consolidation, reporting and forecasting can no longer keep up with the pace of change. While spreadsheets are obviously going nowhere fast (recent research by financial modelling firm F1F9 suggests 71% of large British businesses use spreadsheets to make key financial decisions), the question of how to maximise the effectiveness of the modern finance function remains, when exports and comparisons of data from different systems clearly still play a huge part in their activities.
BOARD and PwC recently came together to explore just that, delivering a two-hour breakfast briefing at The Brewery in London entitled “The Future of Frazzled Finance Teams”, attended by over 80 finance professionals. Featuring keynotes from PwC, ZF, Calvin Capital and BOARD, the event explored the ways in which finance departments are dealing with an increasingly demanding and data-driven environment.
Unsurprisingly one of the key themes to emerge from the morning was that of upgrading finance technology. In a benchmarking survey by PwC, 56% of respondents felt improvements in finance technology would make finance processes more effective. In a similar vein, PwC shared the fact that it regularly sees over 40% of time spent on waste and activities that could be automated in relation to billing and management reporting. Both of these statistics are indicators that the future of the finance function lies in greater, more effective use of technology.
When the word ‘automation’ is mentioned, there’s an assumption this will mean a negative effect on human job roles, but the reality is far from this. In PwC’s survey, regular activities such as billing, management reporting, budgeting and forecasting are rated amongst the top tasks which could benefit from an automated approach, freeing up time and enabling staff to perform more value-added activities, in turn increasing efficiency and productivity.
With the tools already available in the marketplace to support this step change in process efficiency, it seems more a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘what will things look like’. BOARD offers companies the capability to perform financial consolidations, produce budgets/forecasts and deliver management reporting packs with just a few clicks, and more than 3000 organisations worldwide are already benefiting from being more financially and operationally efficient.
In PwC’s experience, the move to a more future-proofed finance function is a journey. Establishing good financial processes, underpinned by a robust business solution, can do wonders for your organisation.
If this blog has peaked your interest in taking your first steps, take a look at the event overview video below to get a feel for how things went on the day, check out our Events page for more upcoming sessions, or request a free BOARD demo for a demonstration of our capabilities. Change could be easier than you think.
Take a look at our upcoming dates to find a session to suit you.