This piece was originally written for SSON. Please find full PDF version below.
Today, if companies fail to transform their entire organization both internally and externally at the same rate of tech evolution and consumer demands, the potential for future revenue recedes. Ultimately, speed is crucial, and in today’s competitive and unforgiving race to win customers, it may well be the survival of the fastest.
The pandemic created a new paradigm in business operations. Initially introduced as necessary steps to implement emergency practices and processes to survive the pandemic, companies had to adopt digitization and automation instantaneously. These practices are now paving the way to accelerated transformation and becoming the industry standard.
Although initially met with resistance across many aspects of organizations, digitization has demonstrated its ease of adaptation and use, resulting in widespread acceptance. The Office of Finance was traditionally resistant to digitization but has since embraced transformational technology and no longer deems it an aspirational goal. Instead, digitization is considered a requirement for building resilience, potentially connecting the whole organization like never before, and is paving the pathway for future best practices for ongoing, forward-thinking operations.
However, despite the newfound embracement of automation, technological solutions, and process improvements, the Office of Finance is still typically siloed from other company operations. While CFOs have long recognized the need to improve efficiencies across the Record to Report (R2R) process, and organizations have improved efficiencies, the process for all finance-related matters still gets significantly bottlenecked when it has to extend outside of the Office of Finance.
Rarely is there a process that occurs entirely within the jurisdiction of one team. The synergism of the Finance department is needed across the whole company and is critical to the enterprise’s success, and must have the same level of connection as other departments, such as IT, HR, Legal, and Procurement. If not, processes will cease to deliver quickly enough, causing delays, increased risks, and money lost.
Extending traditionally siloed processes and controls beyond the Office of Finance into the broader organization will better inform business decisions and reduce risk.
But to truly achieve transformation, it is imperative that operations are conducted in a connected, collaborative ecosystem and should not only communicate critical financial data and status across the enterprise. Instead, details gathered will inform R2R activities, and digitization must replace inefficient manual communication and tracking methods.