As technology is evolving at a greater rate, so will the functions and tools for those working in the finance fields. Keeping abreast of these changes and the new tools available is important to be able to put in place the right strategies for financial safety and revenue growth. This article will cover some of the most important tech tools available for CFOs and other department heads who have to be aware of the financial strategies in place at companies, as stated by David Davis, Consulting Partner, Armanino McKenna LLP, and Tom Kelly, Managing Director, T-Edward, Inc.
Sharing Technology and Information Across the Organization
While having the right tools is very important, it is also vital to share those tools with the entire organization. Some will call this maintaining transparency, but it is really about something much more simple: communication and collaboration. In order for a company to work well and set the right goals, the entire organization needs to be aware of what is happening.
Some of the best tech tools out there for the finance world are best utilized when shared by all department heads. This will increase the amount of information that is given, can improve the accuracy of the analysis of this information, and will streamline and align the expectations and efforts that are had and made throughout the organization.
Most CFO organizations include three main responsibilities: accountant, protector, and business leader. It seems that the current framework for most organizations is for the CFO to spend 55% of time being the accountant, 20% of the time being the protector, and 25% of the time being the business leader. Polls have shown that most CFOs are hoping to change the framework of their roles to being far more involved on the business leader side of things and much less time on the accountant side of things.
For a long time, it looked like it was near impossible to make this change, but currently, it is now possible to make this shift thanks to the technology applications that are available. If this is not a change you have thought about making, now is the time. Think about how much more effective you could be in your financial role if the bulk of the energy and focus was spent on managing the business rather than keeping the books.
This is a very real movement in technology. The trend has grown exponentially over the last five years, and it can completely change the way business is done in your financial sector. The cloud technology can offer many benefits for financial planning, including the following:
- Communication: This technology makes it much easier to talk with every member of the workflow chart at the same time.
- Collaboration: The increased ability for communication also enables better and faster collaboration. Documents, ideas, and changes can be made by anyone in the workflow at any point.
- Storage capacity: The cloud has no boundaries. It can store everything that is needed without utilizing any physical space.
- Organization: Files can be organized in any way that is needed, and the ability to recall any document immediately is very helpful.
- Lower demand on employees: Employing good cloud technology will make it possible for the finance department to complete all needed tasks without adding more people to the payroll.
- Minimal cost of ownership: With the utility offered, the cost of using this technology is very low.
- Mobile applications: Business is all mobile now. You need to be able to access needed information from wherever you are. The cloud makes it possible to handle business outside the walls of the office.
Many businesses are being targeted with the marketing for these analytic business tools. While there are certainly applications that can be used in every facet of business, these are tools that were very much created and deployed with the CFO positions in mind. Purchasing analytic software can help the department in the following ways:
- Better predictions: When you can make more sense of what has happened in the past, you will get a better picture of what will happen in the future, and how to manipulate those outcomes.
- Big data management: Wading through the mountain of information you will encounter is made much easier through these tools. The data will all be sifted, analyzed, organized, and you will simply get a report of what is found.
- Learning capabilities: The more you work with these software tools, the more it will learn about what you need and want. Over time, the business intelligence will continue to make your job easier.
- Eliminating errors: Human error has become a huge risk factor in the financial planning realm. These technologies are designed to find and eliminate these errors.
- Information filtering: The ability to collect and use information is helpful, but not all of that data will actually be useful. These technologies will be able to filter out the data nodes that are not actually going to help you with your goals.
With every new trend in the business world there are some important pitfalls that will also accompany the many benefits. As you work to incorporate these technology applications that can help advance the business, it is important to not be afraid to completely embrace the utility of these tools. It is also important to not put too much extra strain on the IT department. They might need some extra support, and you will need to take on the responsibility to learn about the new software platforms so you will not need as much support from the IT department.
Making these changes and actively avoiding these pitfalls will make it possible to shift more of your time to the business manager side of things and will delegate the accounting tasks to a far more intelligent and capable program.