3 Steps to empower the Finance Team to become your proactive business partner

Paul Smitherman |

The world is changing. With new technologies, companies are becoming increasingly digital, with processes more efficient and more demanding customers. So what do these changes mean for CFOs and what possibilities are there for your company to grow further?

What are the typical challenges

At the end of the month you haven't met the deadline for the period close again. Mistakes that have been made during the month need to be rectified, data from different systems has been imported randomly into Excel and ultimately everything has to be manipulated into a decent report.

Eventually it all works, but the next month the same thing happens again. This pattern keeps repeating itself monthly, with the peak year-end closing causing the most stress.  You feel relatively ok when this process is reasonably under control, but does it leave you enough time proactively steer your company on the basis of the figures? Does all this financial data yield something valuable, or is it purely an obligation to satisfy the auditors?

A lot of profit can be gained for many companies by keeping the admin up to date and proactively adjusting the business on the basis of current financial data. Having more control over your business is the big advantage of new technology as supported by SAP S/4HANA.

Here are 3 focus areas where you can gain more control:

1/ Control your system landscape

Many CFOs must deal with various financial systems and programs that each contain their own financial data. All financial data from these different systems must be continuously collected and then loaded into a reporting tool. In addition, Excel is also frequently used. This fragmented landscape with a jumble of interfaces obviously leads to errors, data duplication and an increased chance of data inconsistencies. In short, it takes too much time and money. By replacing this complex structure with an integrated system, with a central database, you finally get the 'single source of truth' you are looking for. A simplified system landscape immediately and ultimately leads to more control.

2/ Control over your processes 

If your system landscape is integrated you can also optimise your processes. Fragmented processes often lead to a lot of errors and take up precious time. Especially when all the necessary repair work has been completed, there is hardly any time left to proactively manage your company with critical decisions based on your current financial data. S/4HANA offers possibilities to automate and integrate processes. By adding smart KPIs you can instantly review which areas require your attention, making 'exception management' a possibility. You will only have to spend your valuable time on the matters are important.

3/ Control your transactions

Finally, you can gain more control over the transactional data entered into the system. Mistakes are often made and data often has to be entered several times, in different screens and in different steps. This leads to incomplete data and as such, no really valuable information can be retrieved from the system. As a company, you need to be confident that transactions are carried out correctly so that the data entered is complete, informative and up-to-date. S/4HANA can ensure you meet this requirement and thus increase your data control.

All this extra control is of course great to have, but what does it deliver to your business?  Here we outline two important advantages.

  1. Finance as a business partner
    Due to increased efficiency, your financial staff need less time for administrative work and can spend more time on activities that add value. For example, the business can be proactively advised, which greatly increases the chance of identifying new growth opportunities. In addition, there is more time to compare existing processes with industry best practices to make further improvements. Better investment decisions can be made with current, complete and correct financial data leading to an increase in the profitability of your company.
  2. Fast period closure and consolidation
    By having complete and up-to-date data in your system at all times, closing a period is easier than ever before. In fact, during the month you now have the opportunity to do a so-called 'soft close', so that you know exactly how things stand at any one moment in time. In addition, S/4HANA offers the possibility of integrated planning, budgeting, and consolidation and due to the increased transparency of audit and compliance, cost savings can be made immediately.

So what next?

Do you want more financial control and to be in a stronger position to proactively manage your company? Take the opportunity to sign up for a digital assessment. This is an assessment in 3 steps that thoroughly analyses your organisation, leading to a concrete roadmap for the digital transformation of your business. 

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