In today’s rapidly evolving market landscape, businesses are facing unprecedented changes across all organization levels. The rise of e-commerce, global partnerships, remote workforces, and the democratization of technology has transformed the way we do business.
To thrive in this environment, it’s essential to harness the power of automation within our financial systems.
Reshaping Finance: Adapting to the Changing Landscape
Businesses are seeing significant transformations, but small businesses in particular are being impacted by the growth of e-commerce and expanding vendor and partner relationships on a global scale.
These changes, coupled by supply chain disruptions and evolving market dynamics, have highlighted the need for efficient and adaptable business operating systems.
Businesses are increasingly transitioning to software as a service (SaaS) and other recurring revenue models for revenue predictability. This shift, however, raises questions about how to integrate these models into financial systems and account for associated costs.
Emerging technologies like generative AI are further influencing operations, changing what is considered “standard practice” faster than ever.
All these factors drive the need for modernization and automation in financial systems, as businesses must measure and make informed decisions based on a fluctuating economic landscape.
To respond effectively to these trends, all types of businesses need to address five key areas:
- Growth in E-commerce: Small businesses must now embrace a global mindset, partnering with overseas vendors and navigating supply chain disruptions.
- Transition to Recurring Revenue Models: revenue prediction and cost management require new approaches due to the shift towards recuring revenue.
- Rise of Remote Work: efficiency increases with remote work, but it also presents security threats and employee expectations of tech tools.
- Democratization of Technology: the proliferation of options challenges businesses to make informed choices amidst a rapidly evolving tech landscape.
- Emergent Technologies: technologies like generative AI are reshaping almost every industry, offering opportunities for automation and data-driven decision making
These trends, while promising, require a solid financial system to effectively measure and make informed decisions.
Downstream Impacts: Navigating Compliance and Reporting
As businesses adapt to these big picture trends, several downstream impacts arise:
- Compliance and Reporting becoming more complex in response to SaaS, requiring a more robust financial system.
- Integration Challenges like data inconsistencies and manual data entry arising from disparate software systems
- Data-Driven Decision-Making based on data flowing seamlessly across systems.
- Manual Processes, costly and error-prone, diverting valuable resources from strategic activities.
- Core System Alignment with broader business objectives, crucial to achieving automation and data-driven success.
Getting Started with Automation
Starting your automation journey requires identifying processes that offer the highest impact and are suitable for automation. Here’s a practical approach to getting started:
- Process Assessment: Assess your current processes to identify manual, rule-based tasks that can be automated.
- Technology Exploration: Explore available technologies and solutions that align with your automation goals.
- Subject Matter Experts: Involve subject matter experts from different business areas to define and refine automated processes.
- Start Small: Begin with a minimum viable project to achieve quick wins and build on automation success gradually.
Choosing the Right System
When selecting a core system for finance and automation, consider the following factors:
- Ecosystem: Evaluate the platform’s ecosystem, including core applications and add-ons. Ensure they work well together and support your industry-specific needs.
- Integration: Assess how the system integrates with existing tools and platforms, especially your data platform.
- Customization: Avoid over-customization and focus on maintaining and upgrading customizations efficiently.
- Middleware and Integration Tools: Utilize middleware software to facilitate system integrations and streamline processes.
- Data Platform: Ensure that your chosen core system aligns with your data platform for efficient data management.
Building a Successful Project Team
A successful project team should consist of those who can make important decisions and subject matter experts who understand the operational nuances. Key team members include:
- Project Owner/Stakeholder: Responsible for making or facilitating crucial decisions.
- Subject Matter Experts: Operational managers who understand the current processes and can provide insights for automation.
Training and Support
When selecting a partner for automation projects, consider their ability to provide flexible support and training. Look for:
- Documentation: Ensure that comprehensive documentation, examples, and training materials are available to facilitate user adoption.
- Self-Service Tools: Utilize tools that allow your team to self-train and understand the system and processes better.
- Flexibility: Partner with a provider that offers flexibility to adapt to your evolving needs.
- Operational Procedures: Define new operational procedures and ensure that team members understand and adhere to them.
Embrace Change, Drive Success
Automating financial systems and business processes are not merely a luxury; but a necessity for staying competitive. By understanding the evolving financial landscape, embracing technology-driven solutions, and adopting a data-driven approach, organizations can navigate change successfully.
Remember, the key to automation success lies in choosing the right systems, engaging the right teams, and continually refining processes to align with your business objectives. As you embark on this journey, the potential for growth and efficiency is boundless.
Embrace change and drive your organization toward a brighter future in finance automation.