Recent events presented an opportunity for finance teams to transform their strategy and embrace digital transformation. Today, CFOs and Finance Directors are in a particularly good position to leverage digital technology for broader change within their organisation to maintain business continuity.
At its most fundamental level, digital transformation through finance and accounting Cloud software has the potential to promote greater transparency around budgeting, forecasting, as well as spotting anomalies and trends more rapidly to stay ahead of the competition.
What has become clear in the past year is that it’s no longer just an option to incorporate Cloud technology into a business. In this article, we will explain why it's become a necessity and some of the top-level benefits of cloud technology in finance.
What is digital transformation?
Put simply, digital transformation is the adoption of advanced technologies to transform the way services and businesses run on a day-to-day basis. It involves replacing manual and non-digital processes or replacing outdated software with newer digital technology.
Financial and accounting management Cloud software, Big Data, real-time analytics, AI and RPA all hold a universal goal – to validate data. Digital transformation and its assortment of new technologies, therefore, represent a major opportunity for CFOs.
To maximise the potential of these technologies, CFOs must demonstrate adaptability, continuous learning and constant self-improvement to develop and maintain their digital, interpersonal and technical skills.
Why is digital transformation important in finance?
The unpredictability of the pandemic in the finance function firmly placed old workforce rules such as spending hours working on Excel spreadsheets and frantically scrambling to collate sitting data for monthly reporting as a thing of the past.
“Digital transformation” therefore became much more than a buzzword in finance, it was a way for CFOs and their finance teams to have a real-time pulse on the business.
Planning, analysis and reporting have always played a critical role in finance. However, for many, it has taken the pandemic-driven crisis for CEOs and board members to fully appreciate the benefits of real-time quality financial reporting.
Cloud technology has enabled CFOs and finance teams the ability to model various scenarios, measure business performance and put strategic plans into action; all areas which have been critical to business continuity and survival.
How does technology affect the financial industry?
The pandemic changed the role of the CFO forever and created the need for them to be more of a strategic leader. Coupled with the emergence of new technologies, it has been necessary for the CFO to shift their mindset, placing business continuity, team productivity, and growth at the centre of their world.
Digital transformation, and its assortment of new technologies, requires adaptability, continuous learning and regular strategic evaluation to maintain a combined skillset of digital, interpersonal and technical skills within the remit of CFOs.
Digital transformation in finance
Productivity in the workplace is not strictly a new challenge, but the introduction of digital transformation to the finance team requires CFOs to lead from the front by gaining new skills to effectively improve and deliver productivity from their team to the business.
Cloud technology, financial automation and big data all significantly improve the day-to-day tasks for finance teams. A modern workforce, supported by Cloud technology, frees up finance teams from ongoing low-value tasks which are time-consuming, demotivating and prone to human error.
To gain the most out of these technologies, CFOs must widen their technical knowledge to balance data-driven decision making and position themselves as strategic leaders.
It’s important for CFOs to stay on top of the latest productivity tips in finance to enable their team to be as productive as possible.
Recommend finance team collaboration
Big changes aren’t always welcomed and can seem daunting to finance teams who have become accustomed to working in a set way. The view of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” can hinder business innovation and growth if finance teams are against changing outdated ways of working.
For CFOs to deliver successful digital transformation, they need to engage and listen to their team. Taking the time to listen and gain insight provides an opportunity to understand and address any hesitations, concerns and opinions from the finance team.
Agreeing and acting on the right team views will build trust and get colleagues onboard with digital transformation - even if these changing times ahead require patience and adaptability.
Agile working methods
Engaging and listening to the finance team is just one piece of the digital transformation puzzle. Traits such as agility, strategic leader, decision-maker and analytical thinker are all associated with a successful CFO. However, there are other traits that matter just as much when leading a team.
Kindness and patience are valuable and go a long way when nurturing the growth and development of team members when implementing new Cloud technologies.
Taking the time to invest in training to help the finance team develop their digital skills will help with the transition to modern working ways.
By understanding how Cloud technology enables and transforms the business model will provide finance teams with a wider perspective on how data will influence future metrics driving performance measurement and will ensure that everyone is on the same path when it comes to the digital transformation journey.
Begin your digital transformation journey
In times like these when uncertainty looms big, digital transformation can be a catalyst to become leaner and focus on the things that add value and make a business more resilient.
It starts with small steps like being able to process invoices and initiate payments even when no one’s at the regular office and instead review and approve new documents on a mobile device from anywhere.
The good news is that our Cloud-based accounting software, Advanced Financials, can support your business in beginning its digital transformation journey.