Previous to 2020, finance groups had been already combating too many information sources, handbook and inefficient processes, and budgets, studies and different supplies that had been largely based mostly on static, historic information.
This led to a rising concentrate on the necessity for digital transformation to consolidate and automate workflows and provides the finance groups entry to real-time information for strategic evaluation, reporting, and planning.
Then the pandemic hit.
Workplaces had been locked down and groups had been distributed to their house places of work or different distant areas throughout cities, states, and even nations. Groups that usually collaborated in particular person had been now scheduling Zoom calls and sharing paperwork by means of safe cloud companies.
Whereas the preliminary closing course of or quarterly earnings report might have been a bit totally different, the groups found out new methods to work with one another remotely. Because the financial system improves and places of work open up, hybrid work environments will seemingly stay in place and be a key driver for accelerating digital transformation efforts to make sure distant finance groups keep linked.
Primarily based on our expertise working with finance groups at enterprises around the globe over the previous 12 months, listed here are some suggestions on tips on how to train monetary management even in hybrid environments:
Enabling choices with readability of reporting
As talked about earlier, many CFOs have launched into a digital transformation journey to make processes extra environment friendly and linked, and to supply a single supply of fact for his or her information. The truth examine is that the necessity for distant working and safe collaboration highlighted an information hole in most CFOs’ digital transformation methods.
As a finance chief, becoming a member of the mandatory information collectively could be very difficult. How do you guarantee information consistency throughout finance, sustainability, and investor relations on your reporting cycle? Even with large investments in ERP methods for a uniform set of firm information, groups nonetheless wrestle with inconsistencies and errors attributable to a handbook reporting course of based mostly on copy and paste in Excel.
Then you definitely add within the complexity of needing safe collaboration among the many distant employees in your workforce, and the problem turns into much more urgent.
So this turns into the problem: enterprise choices are pushed by information that more and more must be actual time to capitalize on in-the-moment alternatives throughout very dynamic financial circumstances
As companies acknowledge the brand new hybrid surroundings and transfer to cloud-based ERPs, they want automated reporting instruments that pull the newest monetary and operational information in actual time, giving distributed finance groups the info they should create actionable insights to drive the enterprise ahead.
Forecasting: new steady planning method, utilizing excessive frequency inputs from the enterprise
Along with reporting, forecasting has been utterly recast over the previous 12 months. Traditionally, it was seen as an annual strategy of the finance workforce accumulating information from the enterprise and creating forecasts that underpinned the longer term allocation of budgets or different sources.
From the enterprise unit perspective, the historic finance-driven forecasting course of didn’t give them a lot visibility into how information was collected and analyzed. Feeling a bit out of the loop, enterprise items typically find yourself creating their very own “shadow” forecasts in separate methods, disconnected from the corporate’s total monetary forecast.
With entry to real-time information, the rising mannequin includes a new rhythm to forecasting that shifts from annual or quarterly to month-to-month, weekly and even shorter timeframes, if wanted. For instance, we had been utilizing an agile, weekly forecasting method earlier than the pandemic and that perception and visibility allowed us to rapidly and confidently assess and regulate our enterprise plans as financial circumstances modified.
By connecting all the important thing information sources throughout the enterprise’s varied items to automate the gathering and evaluation, it makes the method environment friendly for distributed finance groups and ensures the leaders within the enterprise items are engaged and capable of enter up to date information extra regularly.
A brand new crucial: operational understanding synced with monetary efficiency
Monetary efficiency relies on an organization’s operations, whereas monetary reporting and forecasts dictate future operations. The 2 are intertwined and depending on one another.
What we’ve come to comprehend over the previous 12 months is that monetary reporting, planning and evaluation can’t be executed in a silo. As vital as it’s to investigate an organization’s operations for its monetary efficiency, it’s additionally more and more vital to know not solely what occurred, however why.
That is the place collaborative enter from enterprise leads and varied factors in operations – from manufacturing crops and the provision chain to gross sales and HR – gives the element and context that helps finance flip numbers into information and insights.
On this surroundings, having the instruments and cloud-based methods to remodel the workflows of finance groups is vital and more and more a aggressive benefit. Not solely is it the entry to real-time information from throughout the group, but additionally the power to have interaction enterprise leaders to supply necessary context on the operations that produced these outcomes.
Exercising management over the brand new regular
Whereas we quickly could also be going again to our places of work on some stage, how finance groups function has seemingly modified ceaselessly.
Whereas a key a part of that’s utilizing new automated applied sciences to assist streamline and rework outdated and handbook processes, it additionally covers who’s concerned in these processes, the frequency with which an organization analyzes, studies and forecasts, in addition to how the finance workforce securely collaborates with one another – whether or not throughout a convention desk or internationally.
David Woodworth is the CFO of insightsoftware.