It has been an exciting time in the business world for the past decade. With new technologies, rapid growth, and increased flexibility, today’s business has more opportunities than ever to grow and evolve. However, this isn’t without challenges, as today’s CFO also faces new forms of regulation and risk as well.
In the coming months, we would like to introduce you to the current business landscape and the rise of the “Modern CFO,” an individual who has new roles, responsibilities, and opportunities ahead. From the considerations you will need to make about technology to the changes you will need to adapt to, this series will discuss potential challenges and opportunities you need to face in 2019 and beyond.
The Changing World of Business
Ten years ago, The United States was in the depths of the recession, businesses struggled to get by, and the outlook was relatively bleak. Today’s landscape looks much different. Technological innovations, rapid growth, and regulatory change has reshaped the way businesses operate, and the CFO has led much of the innovation and evolution within the business.
Everything moves faster. Stakeholders expect to see information when and where they want to see it, you need to make decisions before your competitors, and it’s no longer about “just keeping up.” As the CFO, you have seen your role increase, moving from finance chief and “no” person to financial visionary, strategist, steward and strategist who actively takes steps to drive the business forward.
With the call to move the business forward, you need to leverage every tool that you have at your disposal—choosing the right people, processes, and technologies that contribute to business growth. Knowing this, the people-processes-technology equation requires all three factors to be successful; if one fails, the entire system operates on unstable ground.
Business transformation requires a commitment to improving all three of these areas. Whether it’s a change in culture, a commitment to improving the way people complete tasks, opting to upgrade business management software, or a combination of all three, a commitment to change is the first step in a much larger transformation.
Often, one of the most common reasons that businesses fail to adapt to the modern competitive landscape is a lack of technology. Whether it’s outdated, outsized, or unfocused, the wrong technology can hold your organization back, make processes less efficient, and even drive away your hardest-working employees.
From painfully time-consuming manual processes to dangerously inaccurate spreadsheet-based analysis, recognizing the right time to make a move from entry-level or legacy software is often a challenge in itself. Do any of the following sound familiar?
You and your team are always dealing with manual workarounds for simple tasks that can be easily automated.
Much of your data is stored in Excel spreadsheets on multiple systems across the company.
There are no automated workflows (such as approvals for purchase orders or AP processing).
You are unable to easily modify the software to work with your company’s processes.
You are always facing a laborious month-end close process.
Accruals, allocations, and deferred revenues are an issue.
You cannot manage multiple companies within one system and provide consolidated reporting.
If so, you are pushing your system to or even past its limits.
Risks of Pushing Your System Past Its Useful Life
Disgruntled Employees: The finance world is in the middle of a talent crunch at the moment, and employees are looking for positions at companies where they feel appreciated or valuable to the company. Outdated technology fails to allow this, as many of your employees waste hours each week on everything from transaction processing to reporting to closing the books.
High-Risk Behavior: Paper-based or spreadsheet-laden manual processes often are inaccurate. Inaccuracy creates risk and could result in audits—audits you will be ill-prepared for.
Slow, Inaccurate, or Unfocused Information: Added to the lack of auditable financials, your accounting software’s inability to report could also be cause for concern. In today’s business world, decision-influencing information needs to be readily available, accurate and tailored for each decision-maker.
If you currently face challenges like this, it’s likely to only get worse as you continue to grow. In the coming months, we will continue to discuss the challenges that come from using an overpowered business management tool, discussing opportunities for advancement and decisions you will need to make as a CFO or executive sponsor.
Go Modern, Go Milestone
Embracing your role as a modern CFO is your call to take your business into the future, embracing a new mentality that leverages technology to facilitate growth and operate more efficiently. Whether you are just beginning your journey to new technology or have begun evaluating your options, we would love to help.