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Understanding the finance industry

Partnering with CFOs to enhance data integration in the finance industry

by Mike Jones in Other Cat 16/12/2020

CFOs may be cautious to implement new technologies into a business, but support and providing insights into the benefits of integrating these systems can ensure a smoother transition.

After a very challenging year and continued disruptions to key technology projects, CFOs are emerging and preparing to invest in new projects that support the development of advanced analytics and automation systems. Findings from a recent Gartner survey suggest CFOs are increasing investment plans in data and analytics due to key reasons; Firstly, in finance, analytics can provide valuable insights and information that can directly improve overall performance. Secondly, automation technologies have proven to be highly efficient in eliminating data entry into multiple systems. Repetitive data processing is a challenge in finance, especially with the compatibility of using multiple systems.

While there is a clear trend towards automation and analytics, there continues to be some hesitation from CFOs to invest in these technologies. In the same study by Gartner, nearly 80% of CFOs stated that they had doubts about being capable of achieving their goals in advanced analytics, and a further 56% were concerned that they wouldn’t reach their goals by implementing robotic automation technologies.

The results from the Gartner study imply that there is a certain responsibility of IT professionals in providing support and reassurance to CFOs to enable businesses to implement analytics and other digital transformation tools.

One of the most important factors to ensure confidence in new systems is achieving goals and displaying returns on investment. Short-term projects that can demonstrate results will increase confidence in these technologies, enabling long-term, higher-risk projects to be considered.

In terms of finance, the team will be looking for more analytics but often can get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the information displayed, impacting their overall vision.

These innovative tools can display key financial metrics but a lack of understanding of the operational procedures will ultimately affect the bottom line. Analytics tools can directly contribute to corporate financial success, but finance teams aren’t necessarily aware of these benefits. If IT teams can provide these insights to finance teams, the CFOs are more likely to see the value. This would make it simpler for IT teams to promote non-finance based analytics to the CFO and other members who are hesitant to implement these tools.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been one of the predominant technologies for businesses and while it isn’t the only method of eliminating and automating repetitive tasks, it provides the most impactful and immediate way for finance professionals to see the benefits of automation.

Eliminating repetitive work can be achieved in multiple industries by implementing automation technologies that vary from RPA. This is exactly where IT professionals should show clear business options and the associate ROI for each technology available.

The ultimate goal in this entire process is to ensure the CFO is completely engaged and on board with big data, analytics and understands how automation works and can deliver better revenue and results for the business. There will always be a certain level of risk and uncertainty with implementing IT projects, but having the support of the CFO and other teams invested in project success is a significant step towards generated success.