The rise of automation and its impact on the CFO & CIO

By: Gert-Jan Wijman, VP Europe, Middle East and Africa at Celigo


On the back of the pandemic, organisations have had to embrace a culture of evolution alongside a diversified workforce made up of remote or hybrid staff. Businesses have become more horizontal, more entrepreneurial and less hierarchical allowing each employee to feel value. Technology is a key enabler to these changes and is critical to the way we communicate and collaborate with colleagues from around the world in almost every aspect of life.

With new generations of workers come new expectations. Those that have recently joined the workforce expect very different things, particularly when it comes to technology. As Gen-Z and Millennials grew up around technology and are more tech-savvy, they expect employers to use technology to provide more flexibility when it comes to working hours, conditions and location. They are also used to seeing in realtime what is going on in their world through social media and expect something similar in their job.

Automation and hyperautomation have enabled this transformation in all aspects of a business, allowing employees from different locations and departments to work together effectively. As a result, 57% of employers now want to use automation in order to improve human performance and productivity. Post-pandemic we’re seeing this implementation of automation grow dramatically. The relentless demand to shift to digital business models has made hyperautomation vital and IT leaders must use it as an ongoing catalyst to optimise task-level digitisation. Furthermore, over 80% of organisations consistently self-report increased or continued investment into hyperautomation initiatives.

But, how does this impact the role of the CIO and the CFO? And what does this all mean for the way organisations work when it comes to information technology?

It is critical that CIOs must work in harmony with CFOs to achieve total business success and eliminate the numerous manual processes and insufficient access to real-time data across systems. By starting with the business problem at hand – automating quote to cash, for instance – CIOs can empower the CFO and their teams to build automations that make sense for their business, while still allowing the IT team to maintain oversight of the data and processes to ensure compliance. And that partnership is only more important when workers are spread across multiple locations.

Automation’s effect on the workforce 

It’s vital that organisations trust their data and business processes in order to ensure collaborations within the business succeed. When it comes to remote working, that connection of data and processes across the organisation becomes even more paramount. The shift to the cloud has made this connection of employees across the globe possible, but it has also created disconnected silos of data and information, with many companies adopting dozens of cloud applications to run their business.

An iPaaS (integration platform as a service) integrates applications and automates processes to ensure data integrity, which makes processes scalable. This means that, despite varied locations throughout teams, employees can have the same collaboration experience and manage to continue to work effectively with colleagues no matter where they are. It also means that the repetitive tasks are taken care of and they can focus on the more pressing ones, adding more value to the business at the end of the day.

Automation through an iPaaS solves scalability issues in an environment where inflation rises and new hires are sometimes hard to find at acceptable costs. It provides an infrastructure to build a horizontal, scalable organisation. Its impact spans across all teams and, notably, finance teams who use it to increase revenue and profit, create timely financial reporting and ensure 100% compliance.

For finance teams in particular, automation is a saving grace – particularly for the often tech-strapped CFO. The Finance Tech stack is more complex than ever due to the proliferation of specialised finance SaaS apps to support quote to cash, A/R, A/P, cash management, tax, accounting close, corporate performance management. Using an iPaaS to connect and automate all of those processes is one way modern CFOs are adapting to changing tech needs and scaling their organisations for the future.

Implementing the tools 

Implementing a platform which uses automation and aligns with the way the new generation of workers collaborates will empower employees and make the organisation more agile. With software and processes working together, employees will have more control over their jobs and more flexibility in how they work.

And by allowing employees to have more control, it frees up valuable IT resources that can be directed toward more strategic company initiatives.

Ultimately, business automation and platforms such as iPaaS are about empowering each employee and paving the way to a more streamlined business model that supports all aspects of working life, while minimising costs and time.


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