Tackling Digital Finance: Leveraging Software for Efficient Growth

Laura Parker
May 2023

Review of the challenges faced by finance teams in 2023 and how a digital software strategy can bolster efficiency and contribute to your organization’s success.

As a finance professional in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, you’re likely grappling with numerous challenges, ranging from managing budgets and ensuring compliance to forecasting and strategic decision-making.

Finance leaders hold a unique responsibility in their business, alongside a function that has seen signficant disruption both from internal and external factors since 2020.

Additionally, new opportunities have arisen to leverage digital technology in bringing a swift and positive impact to efficiency and business growth – not just within the finance department itself, but positioning finance leaders as a driving force for change in improving the efficiency of business operations across all functional silos.

In this article, we will review how implementing the right software solutions can help your finance team overcome obstacles, streamline processes, and bring a positive change in culture and attitude to finance across your business. We’ll explore the common challenges faced by finance teams in 2023 and discuss how software tools outside traditional finance software can enhance efficiency and generate tangible benefits for your organization.

The Top 3 Challenges Faced by Finance Teams in 2023

1. Navigating the Post-Pandemic Economic Landscape

Finance teams are now tasked with steering their organizations through a post-pandemic economic landscape marked by uncertainty and volatility. This challenge demands a heightened focus on cash flow management, scenario planning, and risk mitigation, as well as the need to adapt to new business models and remote work arrangements. While the global inflation crisis has an end in sight for many localities, it has left a lasting impression across supplier management, order to cash and cost control that only the most innovative organisations will emerge victorious from.

2. Harnessing the Power of Big Data and Advanced Analytics

In an increasingly data-driven world, finance teams must analyze vast amounts of financial information and leverage advanced analytics to provide valuable insights that guide strategic decision-making. Mastering these sophisticated analytical tools and techniques, while managing and interpreting complex data sets, has become an essential skill for modern finance teams. With the endless possibilities of artificial intelligence on the horizon, whether organisations looking to pivot or entrench in their sector informed decision making is a critical risk reduction strategy as any investments are being considered.

3. Ensuring Compliance Amid Rapid Regulatory Changes

With the regulatory landscape evolving at an unprecedented pace, finance teams must stay abreast of new rules and industry standards to ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties. This challenge is compounded by increasing scrutiny from regulatory bodies and growing demands for transparency in financial reporting. Across the UK and Europe, Brexit complications are only increasing, while in the US new tax frameworks are adding further complexity that increases administration efforts and cost for businesses both large and small.

Finance Consulting meeting working and brainstorming new business project finance investment and budgeting

How digital solutions can help Finance Teams

1. Streamlining Post-Pandemic Financial Operations

Digital software solutions can help finance teams navigate the post-pandemic economy by automating repetitive tasks, consolidating financial data, and providing real-time insights into cash flow and financial performance. These tools can also support scenario planning and risk management, enabling finance professionals to adapt to new business models and shifting market conditions. To leverage these capabilities, upgrade paths may exist in existing software or it may be necessary to invest in parallel tools that have a low barrier to entry in terms of complexity.

2. Empowering Data-Driven Decision-Making

Advanced software solutions enable finance teams to harness the power of big data and advanced analytics by automating data collection, processing, and analysis. These tools often include features like data visualization, predictive analytics, and machine learning, empowering finance professionals to generate actionable insights and make data-driven decisions that drive business growth.

3. Simplifying Compliance and Monitoring

By implementing software tools specifically designed for finance teams, organizations can streamline compliance processes, automate internal control procedures, and monitor financial data in real-time. These solutions can help finance professionals stay up-to-date with evolving regulatory requirements and swiftly adapt to changes in the compliance landscape. While ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions exist regarding regulatory frameworks, frequently every business model carries its own nuances which mandates any solutions must also allow for configurability, without sacrificing simplicity.

In any solutions that you consider, if you are looking for ROI (return on investment) within twelve months then it is important to put simplicity at the top of your priorities. Large, complex software may well include the required functionality and more, however it will also require extensive implementation and training (alongside extended adoption time) which will prolong any return on your expenditure far beyond one year.

 

Need to improve finance operations?
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Need to improve finance operations?
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The role of Task Management Software in Finance processes

One area of operational software that has taken huge strides in its value to finance departments in recent years is task management.

Historically, task management has been closer to project management software in its capabilities, rather than meeting the streamlined, compliance focused and cyclical nature of finance. However, in 2023 there are many platforms available that can transform how your business operates (both in and out of finance) while significantly improve the productivity of your existing team without extensive investment and training.

Standardizing and Streamlining Finance Processes

Task management software with integrated process mapping, such as beSlick, enables finance teams to standardize and streamline their processes by creating customizable templates outlining the steps and dependencies of specific financial tasks, and across other departments. This standardization not only reduces errors but also saves time, allowing finance professionals to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Enhancing Collaboration and Accountability

These software solutions foster collaboration and accountability across the business teams by allowing task assignment to individuals or groups with clear deadlines and tracking of non-compliance. With a clear understanding of responsibilities and deadlines, team members can work together more effectively and ensure the timely completion of projects and tasks.

Facilitating Compliance and Monitoring

Task management software with built-in audit trails and compliance features can help finance teams maintain regulatory compliance and monitor their processes. Timestamped activity logs provide transparency and enable easy tracking of task progress and completion, while features designed to support internal control processes help ensure accurate financial reporting.

Supporting Cross-Functional Project Management

Task management software can also aid finance teams in managing cross-functional projects, such as system implementations, mergers, and acquisitions. By providing a centralized platform for task tracking and communication, these solutions enable finance professionals to collaborate effectively with other departments and ensure the success of large-scale projects.

Photo of team meeting with people working on tablets and laptops

Software impact on Finance performance: Traditional vs. Modern

Traditional Finance Teams: Email and Spreadsheet Overload

Traditionally, finance teams have relied heavily on emails and spreadsheets to manage tasks, track progress, and communicate with stakeholders. This approach often leads to inefficiencies, errors, and delays, as vital information gets lost in cluttered inboxes, version control becomes problematic, and manual data entry increases the risk of mistakes. A study by Ventana Research found that 44% of organizations still rely on spreadsheets for their financial planning, analysis, and reporting, with 56% of these organizations reporting issues related to accuracy and timeliness1.

Modern Finance Teams: Leveraging Software Innovation

In contrast, modern finance teams that embrace software innovation can significantly enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. By adopting tools like task management software with process maps, finance professionals can automate routine tasks, streamline collaboration, and ensure accurate, timely financial reporting. According to a study by McKinsey, finance teams that leverage digital technologies can reduce the time spent on financial activities by up to 40% and improve the quality of their output2.

Need a better way to track team tasks & workflow?
Need a better way to track team tasks & workflow?

Quantifiable benefits of Finance task management software

Time Savings and Efficiency Gains

Implementing software solutions can lead to substantial time savings for finance teams. According to a report by PwC, automation of routine finance tasks can result in a 46% reduction in time spent on these activities3. This increased efficiency frees up finance professionals to focus on more value-added tasks, such as strategic planning and decision-making.

Improved Accuracy and Risk Reduction

Software solutions can also help finance teams minimize errors and mitigate risks. A study by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) found that organizations that have implemented task automation and data analytics tools experienced a 25% reduction in financial reporting errors. Furthermore, these tools can assist in risk management and compliance by enabling real-time monitoring and providing greater transparency in financial processes.

Enhanced Decision-Making and Business Growth

By leveraging software solutions that support advanced analytics and data-driven decision-making, finance teams can better inform strategic decisions and drive business growth. According to a study by the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), organizations that utilize advanced analytics are 2.3 times more likely to outperform their industry peers in terms of revenue growth4.

Cost Savings and Resource Optimization

By implementing task management software and other digital solutions, finance teams can reduce operational costs associated with manual processes, human errors, and inefficiencies. A study conducted by Deloitte found that organizations utilizing digital tools and automation for their finance function could achieve cost reductions of up to 40%1. This allows organizations to optimize their resources and allocate them to more strategic initiatives that support growth and profitability.

Strengthening Cross-Functional Collaboration

When finance teams adopt task management software and other digital solutions, they can enhance cross-functional collaboration with other departments. This leads to better decision-making, as finance professionals can access and share relevant data with other teams, fostering a more unified and coordinated approach to achieving organizational goals. According to a report by Gartner, organizations that prioritize cross-functional collaboration can achieve a 4% improvement in EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization).

Checklists in beSlick that help you keep on top of your compliance obligations

Conclusion & final thoughts

As a finance professional in 2023, you’re faced with numerous challenges, from navigating the post-pandemic economy to harnessing the power of big data and ensuring compliance with rapidly changing regulations.

By leveraging software solutions designed to address these challenges, you can streamline your finance team’s workflows, enhance efficiency, and contribute to your organization’s success.

Investing in task management software with process maps can be a game-changer for finance teams, helping to standardize processes, improve collaboration, and drive better decision-making. By adopting a more modern approach and embracing software innovation, you can overcome the challenges faced by traditional finance teams and position your organization for sustained growth and profitability.

Article references

  1. Deloitte: The robots are coming – Moving beyond traditional methods of automation
  2. Workday: Global Finance Leader Study: Four Priorities Defining the Future of Finance
  3. PWC: Finance Effectiveness Benchmark Report
  4. Financial Executives International: Benchmarking the Accounting & Finance Function

 

Need to improve finance operations?
Never miss month end again.
Need to improve finance operations?
Never miss month end again.

, Author of The Dirty Word and CEO at beSlick

Alister Esam is a successful entrepreneur and investor, having bootstrapped his fintech software business eShare to international status operating in over 40 countries and servicing 20,000 board directors, before successfully exiting to a multibillion-dollar organisation in 2018. He now invests in a variety of startups and on a global mission to make work, work.