In 2018, new accounts payable automation technology with real-time analytics will transform the CFO into the meteorologist of your organization.  The role will transition from the reporter of corporate financial records to the corporate meteorologist ready to utilize data to make sunny forecasts, warn of upcoming financial storms and make strategic decisions.  The reasons behind this change include:

  • The software technology of today delivers real-time access to information and improves business processes.
  • The increasing complexity of mid-market and mid-enterprise organizations requires a laser focus on business strategy.
  • A mobile business workforce requires enhanced communication and collaboration across the enterprise.
  • The best talent is often found in the finance team, who boast advanced business degrees and new technology skills.

Leverage Real-time Data and Analytics

In a 2017 KPMG survey, 85% of CEOs reported that the ability of CFOs to organize and analyze data was a top priority for their business.  We heard the same themes at ERP trade shows this year. At Sage Intacct Advantage, managing director and EVP of Sage Intacct Rob Reid discussed how the CFO role is transforming into the role of a “data scientist.”  At the Microsoft Dynamics User Group Summit, the theme was how Microsoft’s Power BI Reporting can help the finance team to gain greater insights. 

At Ariett, we’ve built BI, Metric AP, Procurement and Expense Reporting Dashboards to meet the analytics needs of customers.  The dashboards consolidate detailed transaction information and provide a real-time graphic snapshot of data, such as spend by vendor, open purchase orders or average days until invoice payment.  The data can also be sliced and diced by different metrics, such as spend by department, project or program, helping CFOs to easily access financial data.  CFOs can make informed decisions about capex project budget spending or a potential acquisition.

Stay Informed About Technology Trends and Tools

Another dominant trend for CFOs in 2018 will be the importance of utilizing the best technology solutions to increase productivity within the finance team and across the organization.  As a recent Ernst and Young DNA of the CFO study shows, 68% of CFO respondents listed improving cost efficiency as a top priority, while 60% said driving growth was a top priority.  To achieve both objectives, it is essential for CFOs to employ the latest cloud technology to automate accounts payable, purchasing, payment processing and contract tracking.

Cloud accounts payable automation solutions like Ariett’s drive efficiency and greater insight through paperless approval workflows and global visibility to spending.  Ariett provides a complete cloud purchase to payment platform, helping CFOs gain insight into spending across companies and entities.  For a faster, more controlled accounts payable process, accounting can take advantage of Ariett’s invoice capture with automated GL coding. Approved invoices can be submitted into a payment batch for quick approval and payment (via ACH, virtual card or check).  Financial planning and analysis teams can use Ariett’s comprehensive contract tracking and reporting to manage capex project spending and make budget projections based on tracked spending. 

Shape Strategy for Company Growth

With greater access to real-time financial data, the CFO can make more informed recommendations, including recommendations about the timing or strategic value of a proposed merger or acquisition (M&A).  A majority of corporate and private equity executives in Deloitte’s report “The State of the Deal: M&A Trends 2018” predict that there will be an increase in the number of M&A deals and the size of M&A transactions.  This means that it will be even more crucial for CFOs to access to up-to-date expense data to evaluate their company’s current business performance and to use solutions like Ariett Procurement to track acquisition and other internal project costs. 

Enhance Communication and Collaboration

The CFO of 2018 will also need to be skilled at communicating complex information about business performance and opportunities to both internal and external stakeholders.  By championing cloud business solutions across the organization, CFOs can also help implement a culture of collaboration and accountability.  Cloud solutions that are built with responsive design facilitate greater communication because employees from any location can securely access these applications from any phone, tablet or laptop device.  For example, the CFO on his/her tablet can log into Ariett’s payment processing solution, AriettPAY, to view the complete payment audit trail and accompanying documents.  Accountability increases because Ariett retains a complete record of approvals, comments and documents related to each transaction.

To learn more about the transformation of the CFO, click here.

This content was originally posted here.