In the blink of an eye, the cloud shifted from a tech industry buzzword to an integrated and seamless part of business operations. The shift started with front-end business systems, resulting in streamlined interactions, increased company visibility and automated customer service.
Today’s companies push cloud adoption further by using digital-first applications to modernize their back-end processes with software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. SaaS companies examined traditional business workflows to create secure, efficient systems to enable sales automation, accounts payable automation, HR management, customer relationship management, etc.
Savvy businesses now leverage the cloud to benefit their customers and internal operations. This is especially true of the finance department, but what is the role of finance in business, and what can finance leaders do differently?
Achieving digitization in finance involves casting a wider net than traditional transactional activities. Finance’s role should be in data management, including simplifying and organizing the ocean of data throughout the company. It should leverage advanced analytics and data visualization to redefine the operating model for the new way of doing business.
What Is Fintech, and Why Should You Care?
Some companies find additional value in shifting back-end operations to the cloud, adapting to short-term realities and adjusting for long-term strategies. Companies often find that adopting a digital-first mindset in broader aspects of their business reaps previously unobtainable rewards.
Traditionally, the finance function focused on recording, classifying, summarizing, and interpreting financial transactions. This includes production costs, marketing spend, budget management and tax regulations. Finance receives and manages the money you need to survive and thrive.
But what does that mean for today’s financial leaders?
Finance teams drive future success by being proactive. They have tangible goals and find ways to optimize their function to be a key player across the organization. In a 24/7 remote environment, finance teams work odd hours, in different time zones, and seek global solutions that immediately provide accurate information. Finance technology (fintech) emerged as a leading source of accessibility for these teams. Fintechgives them the critical data they need to drive the business forward.
Here are three steps for optimizing your records and processes through digitization and financial software:
1. Consider data intelligence. The importance of financial strategy can’t be understated. For financial leaders, transforming available data into business intelligence is game-changing. The main priority is implementing the right tools and methods to leverage the numbers better.
When planning and modeling, look forward and anticipate what your organization needs. Analyze which controls need to be in place and any potential variance. Evaluate at an operational level and base decisions on specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound results.
2. Secure data. Many companies know their internal data systems are vulnerable to unexpected security risks. Security compromises move so fast that IT can’t keep up, resulting in data breaches and attacks. As SaaS companies expand cloud offerings with enhanced security, traditional concepts of what constitutes security are evolving.
Now, SaaS companies provide better data security than most in-house setups and dedicated teams. If your finance function technology solution is breached, this is especially a problem.
Cloud-based financial software solutions have dedicated security teams and industry-leading data integrity experts. True data security extends beyond a locked file cabinet or password recovery. Automated business systems have built-in security features, like authenticated role-based access, data encryption and protection, and can detect compromises.
3. Automate finance. Accounts payable is the most time-consuming financial workflow. Instead of supporting a business’s short- and long-term needs, employees spend time and resources doing repetitive and mundane tasks, like writing and mailing checks. Repetitive and manual processes also result in higher chances of erroneous data entry, wasting more time and resources. These workflows can easily be automated through financial management software.
A digital finance technology solution like accounts payable automation lets a company streamline back-end processes and elevate employees to higher-value strategic roles.
Achieve Digitalization in Finance
The importance of financial strategy bears repeating; digitizing for the sake of digitalization could lead to overspending on a solution that causes more problems than it resolves. While finance can’t thrive without digitalization, doing it the wrong way will be detrimental to your business.
Be sure you’re partnering with reputable firms that work with your organization to address how every business unit interoperates. This will ensure you get the most effective solution that brings your unique business to the next level.