Finance Insights

Finance Departments Must Keep Pace with Technology TrendsIt’s a revolutionary time for finance departments. New technologies and processes have changed the landscape of best practices within finance organizations, making integration of information critical with other business units across the enterprise. And these new trends are affecting finance departments from the top down.

For example, CFOs can no longer solely cost justify new systems or processes based on how much leaner it will make their organization, as technology already has enabled many larger and some mid-sized companies to offshore some of their resources, as well as create better interfaces among their systems. Also, traditional accounting and data processing roles within many organizations are being additionally tasked with running analyses to spark data-driven decisions enterprise wide.

Finance departments, not wanting to look like a dinosaur, need to be on the forefront of these emerging notions. By changing the ways they approach technologies and processes to better mirror new industry standards, finance departments can help transform their entire organization into a more effective and efficient company.

These are some of the key takeaways I gathered from the Modern Finance Experience 2017 conference presented by Oracle Corp. last month in Boston. They also resonate internally here at Emtec.

Three tactics CFOs and other financial leaders can use to help better manage transformation:

Creatively approach job functions

Finance departments should start thinking about themselves and their processes more creatively.

Companies used to allocate a lot of employees to process data and complete functional tasks. But technology does a lot of that now. Thus, organizations aren’t as focused on getting data into a system as much as what’s coming out of it and how they can use it in forecasting and planning.

So it’s crucial finance departments encourage their employees to think about themselves differently--not just as accountants. They need find ways to become more effective, such as by initiating analytics, so for example, they can show other business units that certain expenses increased over the past year and how the company can better manage that going forward.

At Emtec, I also want our finance employees to become more organized around our business. They shouldn’t be doing functional tasks like expense checking anymore when we have technology to facilitate that. Instead, I want to reposition them into new functions that are more aligned with our evolving business processes.

Assign ROI based on speed of insight delivery

Finance departments need to align their ROI justifications with how much analytical functionality and speed a new system or process can offer.  

Businesses now are focusing on how quickly information can get into management’s hands so they can present it, close books or make other data-driven decisions. Running reports and spreadsheets can be bland and repetitive, but it doesn’t cost a lot and is certainly more effective.

It also lends itself to implementing more cloud-based technologies, which are cheaper over time than traditional, on-premise systems, but can offer a lot more functionality.

Emtec has implemented Oracle HCM Cloud and plans to go live with Oracle ERP Cloud by the end of July. We will take on PBCS Cloud this fall. The transformation will enable us to more quickly get data to employees at all levels of the organization. And after everything is up and running, we plan to reorganize around how to use it to provide the best value to our business units.

Use best practices, not customizations

Established cloud applications already have built in best practices from partners and early adopting businesses. They don’t need to be individually customized for every organization.

Not only is that approach more expensive, but it also negates how the cloud was intended to function. The platform is meant to encourage business process changes on the front end, not customizations or reluctant workflow changes on the back end.

Our finance team, as well as finance departments in other organizations, need to help people understand that while they have been doing things the same way for a long time, there are better industry standards emerging that are more efficient and can support new analytical requirements.

While I enjoy the perk of having an internal team to help us navigate through the many available options for financial systems- most CFOs do not. If you are evaluating a move, it is imperative for you to have an advisor that can help you to cross all your Ts and dot all of your Is. The process can be painful- I can attest to that after many migrations over my career. The right partner will ensure you end up with a system that can provide the insights you need – when you need them- to bring value to your organization.

If you are looking for some guidance or want to better understand how your finance team can transform the way they support the organization and better manage your financial data, contact our finance solutions team today.

Written by Greg Chandler

CFO

Greg joined Emtec in May 2009 as Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to Emtec, he served as the Managing Director and Group Head of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC’s Business Services Investment Banking Practice. He also was a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers advising companies in restructuring their back office financial operations.

Greg serves on the Board of Directors of FS Investment Corporation and the RBB Funds, and on the Board of Trustees of FS Energy and Power Fund. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School, a B.S. in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and is also a Certified Public Accountant.

In addition, he has been a part of Emtec’s Board serving and previously served as Chairman of the Audit Committee from 2005 through 2009. Mr. Chandler continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.

If you would like to connect with Greg: greg.chandler@emtecinc.com

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