The digitalization of business processes around the world has been happening steadily over the last decade. Converting manual processes, with paper-based records, into fully automated processes with digitized documents has become a trend. Digitalization has accelerated recently and this is nowhere more evident than in the world of finance. As high-volume, time-consuming, repetitive processes – usually completed manually and many with paper records. Reap the most benefit from automation and digitization.
The ‘Digital Future of Finance’ Report
In the 2021 in ‘The Digital Future of Finance’ report by Gartner: “69% of business leaders say digitalization initiatives are accelerating, and most expect digital technologies to dramatically transform their industry by 2026”. The report goes on to say that alongside the usual tasks of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), accelerating the Digital Finance function is a key priority now. With waste and redundancy reduction, technology investment, cloud adoption and digital upskilling being some of the key areas of focus for CFO’s.
- Waste and redundancy reduction
Reducing waste in this sense is more to do with the benefits that digitalization brings to an organization. Namely, the automation of key financial processes via advances in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning (ML). The reduction in manual work, reduction in time spent on high-volume transactions, and the reduction of errors. All of this frees up staff to focus on other key decision-support aspects of their finance roles. This leads to increased productivity, improved compliance and higher staff retention within an organization.
- Technology investment
As mentioned above, using RPA and ML via ERP’s and other software can help with the automation of high-volume transactions. However, some of the technology used is outdated and only automates certain finance functions. Additional technologies to automate the more intricate financial processes are required. Investing in these new value-adding technologies is seen as the key to ensure the future success of the business. The spend on this new financial technology is now seen as a ‘need-to-have’ and not as a ‘nice-to-have’ for CFOs looking to change the way they complete key financial processes.
- Cloud adoption
Cloud service providers are experts in handling large amounts of data. Storing sensitive and confidential information securely is a key feature of cloud technology. This is why many organizations are moving to the cloud, they see it as the next step of future-proofing their business. Storage and security being high up on the list of benefits of moving to the cloud. Once in the cloud, CFOs are tasked with finding financial cloud applications that align with their key financial goals and strategy.
- Digital upskilling
As with any industry that transforms itself, there will be a growing digital skills gap. There is now an overriding necessity to hire, retain and develop digital skills amongst employees in the world of finance. In their report, Gartner mention only one-third of finance leaders agreed that their teams have the required capabilities for digital finance functions. Meaning any further growth in this gap would reduce the ability to take advantage of digital technologies within their organization. Digital skills are becoming essential in finance – hiring, training, and retaining staff with these digital skills is paramount.
CFOs to use Covid-19 to redesign the business
The Covid-19 pandemic has helped to speed up the adoption of digitalization. Due to imposed lockdowns, many businesses were forced to digitize multiple processes that were usually done in the office. In another 2021 Gartner report: ‘The CFO Perspective’ – “64% of CFOs indicate they will use the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis as an opportunity to focus on redesigning the business”.
As we mentioned earlier, this is leading to a focused investment in current financial technology to automate intricate processes. CFOs are adamant on turning a negative, such as the pandemic, into a positive. Using this period of time to streamline their finance departments. CFOs will carefully review finance and strategic business objectives to prioritize the right technologies for investment.
Cashbook have seen this multiple times with new customers and even existing clients. New customers have approached us during 2020/21, wishing to automate specific financial processes in their accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, accounts payable, and collections and deductions management. Existing clients have taken the time to automate additional areas of their finance functions that they were always planning to do.
At Cashbook, we have been digitalizing financial processes for clients in multiple industries for over 20 years. If you would like to discuss how Cashbook can automate your key financial processes. Then get in touch with our team on +353 61 338 400 (international) or 630-352-2228 (North America), alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to discussing how digitalization will help to transform your finance department and in turn future proof your organization.