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Achieving finance transformation requires the finance function to embark on a journey from financial custodian to business advisor. CFOs are increasingly relied upon to offer strategic guidance, yet in this year’s FSN Global Survey – The Future of Finance Systems – it’s clear that the finance team’s ability to get to its desired destination is being hampered by solutions which are not fit for purpose.
According to FSN’s research, “finance systems are failing to support CFOs’ role as strategists and business partners, leaving organizations unable to respond speedily to market changes.” 26% of survey respondents are still using finance systems which don’t support the traditional role of the function – defined as financial stewardship, regulatory compliance, and control – and only 53% of respondents said their finance systems can provide the information needed for them to play an active role as a board advisor and strategist.
Reading between the lines, these results paint a picture of finance functions which are still spending too much time manually collating data for reporting, analysis, and planning rather than on strategic activities, using systems (or spreadsheets) which are unable to deliver the depth of insight needed to drive finance transformation.
The 2019 FSN survey identifies several factors behind the lack of progress in the adoption of modern financial systems. Half of surveyed organizations also said they fail to find additional value in finance systems beyond financial reporting, while 46% of CFOs said that nobody within their organization is prepared to tackle the problem of legacy systems. The cost of changing was also the most-cited stumbling block to the adoption of new finance solutions – a view shared by 57% of respondents.
These factors, combined with the time-consuming manual work which is preventing any real focus being given to change, provides a significant indication of why finance teams are struggling to achieve finance transformation.
Unified finance solutions, which offer planning & control, forecasting, financial closing, and reporting in a single interface, give finance teams the accuracy, efficiency, and insight required to reduce their manual workload and free up more time for strategic activities. By creating a single point of truth for access to all data, time-consuming manual finance tasks can be automated and planning activities conducted using the same dataset. The centralized view also enables the cross-examination of related data, providing insights for strategic decision-making which may previously have gone unnoticed.
This connected approach, referred to as Integrated Business Planning, also drives collaboration amongst departments and helps the finance team to ensure their plans fit in with strategic and operational goals, providing the foundation for true finance transformation as well as digital transformation across the business. To find out more about Integrated Business Planning solutions, visit the Board website.
Without the right financial systems in place, the finance function is destined to be stuck in a loop of manual reporting-related work, preventing it from delivering the timely strategic advice desired by the organization. Where is your business at on its finance transformation journey? Download the FSN Global Survey 2019 to see the full state of the industry and benchmark yourself against your peers.