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HOW AUTOMATION CAN HELP CFOS REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL

11/04/2019

Debbie Green, Vice President of Applications, Oracle UK

 

The myth that we only use approximately ten per cent of our brain has been repeatedly disproved by science, yet it remains a commonly accepted factoid. It is easy to see why we are always so happy to believe it: we often feel like we are failing to achieve our full potential. Whether it is how productive we are at work, or the impact of stress and tiredness on our decision-making ability, we are only human, and therefore limited. So how can we improve our potential and build on our talents, helping us to achieve as much as we can?

 

This question is why we are seeing more leaders, in particular CFOs, turn to tech solutions such as ERPM platforms with embedded AI. After all, CFOs are only human and have the same limitations as everyone else, so they need to optimise their decision-making ability. By automating manual processes, CFOs are regaining precious hours, which they can apply to driving a competitive business. These business leaders need to focus on big picture decision-making based on strategic insights, rather than simple but time-consuming tasks. Technology enables this shift: AI or chatbot assistants built into ERPM applications that handle less strategic work can be a game-changer, helping CFOs focus on driving results.

 

CFOs are ambitious by nature, but when they are spending hours keeping the finance function up and running, this ambition is not able to reach its full potential. Requisitions, purchase orders and vendor invoicing are not going away any time soon. But using cloud-based ERPM with embedded automation provides CFOs with the intelligent financial management capabilities to handle the routine duties that are holding back potential productivity, freeing up the CFOs to focus on innovating and proving to the CEO exactly how valuable an advisor the CFO can be.

 

There has never been a better time to invest in this technology than now. CFOs are part of a small group of people who have access to data from across the entirety of the business, from sales to HR and marketing. In light of increasingly strict regulations and compliance laws, different business units are locking down their data to comply. CFOs are therefore in the unique position where they have a complete oversight of the connected data and processes in an age where businesses are driven by data. This is a very important role for a business, and CFOs should be dedicating their energy to driving strategic business decisions from this position of insight. More CFOs should take concrete steps to make the most of this position, dedicating their productive hours and decision-making to the data they have at their disposal. At the end of the day, these insights translate into valuable guidance CFOs can give the CEO to help drive the business forward.

 

Becoming a strategic advisor to the board by tapping into this ambition and reducing lost productivity can manifest itself in many different ways. For example, Football Club RCD Espanyol implemented a Cloud ERPM platform to automate its financial processes. Joan Fitó, Financial Director, says that the finance team has become infinitely more flexible since automating work. Productivity has gone up by more than 20%, while reporting time has been reduced by 50%, and there are over 25% less errors committed by the finance team. His team is instead now focusing on analysing Club data in real-time to become more strategic in its efforts to become a globally-recognized name in the football world.

 

The opportunity is there for CFOs to digitally transform and change operations for the better: 80% of an organization’s transactions are processed in the back-office. There is a clear opportunity to make the most of being data-driven and supported by automation. Through this move CFOs will find themselves even more central to business operations, which is why they must be ready to take that chance right now. Now is the time to showcase their ambition and abilities by taking advantage of intelligent process automation and the opportunities it gives, which will handle the energy intensive tasks, freeing them up to drive the business forward. An ERPM Cloud with a strong automated financial functionality is the way to achieve greater productivity, allowing CFOs greater focus on making the decisions that really matter: growing a successful business.

 

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Finance Derivative is a global financial and business analysis magazine, published by FM.Publishing. It is a yearly print and online magazine providing broad coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business and the global economy.