Unfortunately, low-value, manual tasks dominate the day-to-day lives of many FP&A professionals. This means finding time to work on performance enhancing activities can be difficult. However, CFOs are under increasing pressure from Boards and management to provide greater analysis and scenario modelling. Now is the time to use this as an opportunity to elevate the value of finance.
CFOs need to be leaders when it comes to elevating the value of finance
CFOs can support this transition by providing the right technology, inspiring leadership and instilling a change of mindset. You need to shift the perception that finance operates as a cost centre, and instead be recognised for contributions to business growth and revenue.
A common complaint we receive from FP&A teams is the amount of time they spend on month-end reporting. For them, it is a perpetual cycle that involves the preparation and validation of multiple disparate data sets. Although a critical business task, many teams are delivering reports mid-month. The issue is that this diminishes the reports usability, and negatively impacts the value of finance.
Automate low-value tasks
If you are experiencing this dilemma, it is important you find technology that supports the work that you do. Begin by automating manual activities, such as data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL). This allows you to create a data environment that is “analysis-ready”. Also, it reduces the significant manual intervention and workload. Automation of transactional work frees up resources to add business value. It lets employees take a more strategic approach towards their work.
Aside from time efficiencies, automation also improves the consistency and accuracy of your reports. By removing the risk of human error, you build the organisations trust and the value they place on finance.
Time and process efficiencies will give your team the opportunity to redirect work on higher-value outputs, such as the interpretation of data into insights. The next step is to make your achievements recognised. The best way to do this is to encourage your team to communicate these insights to business leaders. In doing so, you deliver a true finance business partnering model which connects business units, facilitates operational execution and elevates the value of finance.
The potential of Predictive analytics
When we talk about creating greater value, we need to touch on the topic of predictive analytics. Finance teams across Australia are using predictive analytics to varying degrees. It can be a powerful tool to derive value from data by determining patterns and predicting future outcomes.
Jedox’s AIssisted planning tool provides businesses with a competitive edge when it comes to forecasting and planning. You can use predictive forecasts to minimise risks in decision making, and enrich existing data sets for fact-based decision making. This comprehensive data-driven approach can support corporate planning as well as extend greater influence across the business.
Once again it is an example of how technology can be used to free-up time so that your team can focus on problem-solving capabilities. You will have the opportunity to tap into unused potential, maximise efficiency and elevate the value of finance. Remember, not all technology is created equal. It’s important to choose the right technology and implementation partner who can deliver on their promise.
The need for human transformation
However, technology and successful digital transformation can only succeed when there is human transformation. This does not just refer to the adoption or acceptance of technology. Rather, technology should fuel innovation and change the way finance professionals think about their role and responsibilities within the organisation.
It is important for finance leaders to encourage their teams to become more commercially aware. This involves delivering strategies that encourage sustainable growth – as opposed to ‘cost-cutting’ incentives.
Lastly, it is not just the finance team that needs to ‘think outside the box’. The wider business needs to understand and prioritise strategic objectives over their own. Adopting technology that has user-friendly features and allows for easy analysis of data can help managers around the business ‘self-service’ those ‘non-critical’ reports and tasks.
If you want to elevate the value of finance across your organisation, contact us at Minerva Partners?
We are a Management Consultancy that is laser-focused on business transformation. We assist CFOs and transformation specialists every day to improve their data management, budgeting, forecasting, and planning. Our goal is to give you more time to focus on business growth and strategy.