How financial management tools are helping CFOs

Can cloud-based financial management tools help CFOs and finance teams to excel in their expanding roles?
7 November 2019

Oracle CEO Safra Catz, previously one of the United States’ highest paid CFOs. Source: AFP

The artificial intelligence (AI) industry is expected to contribute US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 (less than two decades away).

Companies are adopting technologies such as blockchain, automation, cloud-based solutions, and quantum-inspired tools to stay competitive and relevant in a digitalized world. 

The transformation of technological solutions is changing the way we work but also redefining the roles we hold in an organization. In this case, close to 93 percent of CFOs and finance professionals agreed on the changes in responsibilities and roles over the past five years, according to a report by Sage. 

The enterprise software firm said the role of the CFO in a digital age is “to be a visionary, using and analyzing data to predict the future direction of the organization, uncover hidden opportunities and close information gaps.”

CFOs and the finance team of today are presented with a new set of expectations and challenges; interestingly, leading finance professionals are turning to cloud-based financial management technology to strive in this time of uncertainty and disruption. 

More than two out of three (72 percent) organizations are employing the cloud-based technology and more are following suit as digital transformation becomes the norm. 

There are two main benefits in the deployment of cloud-based solutions in the finance sector which contribute to the popularity. 

Gaining more time with automation

Automation is driving productivity in offices as financial, administrative tasks are taken over with reduced human errors. One out of three organizations is seeing a positive impact of automation in streamlining business processes and driving productivity. 

For example, automation can deal with a large number of transactions simultaneously within a short period of time. Moreover, the completed work is generally trackable and leaves little room for mistakes to occur. 

With more free time at hand with automation, CFOs and their teams are able to focus on strategizing and bringing the company forward. 

To elaborate, CFOs can focus on dispersing the immense pressure from monitoring and overseeing economic changes, directions, and scrutiny from board members, as well as devising plans to minimize costs while maximizing revenue.

Strategizing with AI 

Part of the role of CFO is to lead the digital transformation in organizations; besides traditional financial and accounting projects, their roles now include using business analytics to make revenue and growth-driven decisions

With the added responsibilities, a majority (73 percent) are facing difficulty in accustoming to the expanding role, such as managing cybersecurity, finding the right tech solutions, and recruiting talent for proper implementation.  

In this regard, CFOs and the finance team are expected to generate business insights from organizational data, often siloed and stored in isolation between departments. 

This proves challenging as finance professionals struggle to formulate a comprehensive picture of the local portfolio with the pieces of valuable information scattered across the organization. 

A cloud-based financial management tool aims to break down data silos and deploy a smoother and more integrated approach to business analytics. 

Furthermore, CFOs can find a more holistic view of financial data with big data and find ways to reduce costs, connect with clients, and develop new products.

Organizations will find these data-driven decisions measurable and scalable to meet the needs of the organization. In brief, access to real-time information allows businesses to rise above its competitors by forecasting significant deals and events. 

CFOs and members of the finance department can find cloud-based financial management tools to assist in administrative work and provide data for better decision making; however, the efficiency of the adoption lies in the support and leadership of CFOs.