Date : 19/02/2016 Platform/Online Media: TimesJob Source
Cloud App in Finance: Do ROI Justify the Transformation
MyCFO is India's largest and fastest growing brand in the 'CFO services' category working with companies across the ownership spectrum ranging from Family Owned, Private Equity/ Venture Capital backed, Listed, Indian subsidiary of a Multinational to those in the social impact space.
It is recognized that the finance community’s adoption of technology is limited. The view was that each function views the other as a hindrance to their business process flow. While the finance function is driven by the book – accounting standards, compliance, audit, corporate laws and taxes; technology is ever evolving with respect to advancement in platforms, functions, features and access. The change of the millennium bought about winds of change wherein finance function felt the need to crunch the time to record and report, and the technological evolvement was sufficient enough to provide the means. The transition of technology solutions from record keeping to enterprise resource management also enabled considerable freedom in budget allocations for investments in technology.
In this context, the technology that finance is adopting is nothing but the applications that aid decision making in the function or the ability of the application to process transactions and provide a meaningful insight to numbers. The most significant amongst this is the ERP itself, using which there have been smartphones or tablets-enabled applications. Today’s CFO’s need not be bound to their desks to keep track of cash flows, financial dashboards, inventory management, approvals of expenses, transactions, reports etc., which can be achieved by a click or a touch on the devices being used.
While the advent of Internet revolutionized the way transactions are carried out, the new way of getting things done is through apps. A click on the app store will provide solutions for:
- Banking through the apps of the banker
- Money Control, Bloomberg, Stock Watch provide the pulse of the Stock & Forex markets along with the to-date status of the investment portfolio that the CFO manages
- Approvals and workflows are managed & processed using notifications from mobile platforms of ERP’s;
- Document sharing through Dropbox, DMS solutions from Google or MS Office;
- Cloud-enabled internet-facilitated BI Solutions and performance indicators provide data points for daily functioning to strategic decision making;
- Project management, billing, outstanding, travel expense management, claims etc. are some other important functions which are currently app enabled based on the underlying technology supporting the same
These are some of the must have technology features for CFO’s apart from the host of other significant apps that assist the Finance function.
With the global spread of organizations ever increasing, the challenge is always in availability of a single true source of data, which has been considerably addressed by on-cloud availability and internet. Rapid progress has been made with respect to quick responses to commands, security controls on data access and ease of data updates; thereby significantly increasing adoption and need.
It is in the blood of CFO’s and Finance community to always evaluate the ROI of any investments and so is the case with technological investments. Newer technologies may even force organizations for higher capital investments to replace legacy systems. Adoption of technology by itself does not contribute to saves or quicker ROI. It is the adoption of best business practices, combined with elimination of redundancies in processes and manpower consolidations that contribute to quicker ROI.
Good examples of technology improving process efficiency is transaction processing based on robotic automation wherein the text and figures are entered into ERP’s completely without data entry personal. This not only improves speed but has almost 100% accuracy. The approval process for expenses is auto-managed wherein ERP is configured to send notifications based on the expense amount. This not only saves time on whom to seek approval from but also prevents any breach of authority. Reports are custom-defined or self-designed based on user preference and distribution scheduled at defined timelines, which completely eliminates the need for any manual effort. Business Intelligence is provided through dash boards which provide for features to drill down into any level of detailing at transaction level, stock quotes to buy / sell are can very much be managed on hand-held devices itself and forex management can be triggered through apps itself. Paper-less management reviews are pretty much the in-thing, which is completely facilitated by technology. All these functions almost cover the entire gamete of CFO functions. Not only is the ROI quicker, CFO and the management are assured of highest levels of compliance, timeliness and accuracy.
With the corporates world-wide driving towards lean functional organizations, the decision for CFO’s is not about if technology should be adopted but about the extent and depth of adoption.