Digital technologies—including cloud, in-memory computing, mobility, and cognitive computing—will have a big impact. Cloud models are helping to streamline and automate business processes and transactional activities that have held finance teams back from focusing on strategy. In fact, the study predicts that all transactional finance processes will be fully automated in “captive finance factories,” a model based on shared services, managed services, and outsourcing.
Greg Acevedo, business development manager for Workday Financial Management at Alight Solutions, describes how automation is impacting the role of finance. “Thanks to the continuing automation and consolidation of financial systems, the finance team is evolving from an organization centered on transactional responsibilities to one tasked with providing the business with analytics and strategic insight,” he says.
Finance systems leveraging in-memory computing also allow finance to transact, analyze, and report on live data, enabling real-time consolidations and dramatically shortening the financial close process. Easy and fast access to data, along with the required controls for proper access, will be important in supporting future management and statutory requirements.
“We are living in a much more complex world, and that complexity is translating into more stringent requirements for timely and accurate information, both for management and different government agencies and tax authorities,” says Dan Giurleo, financial systems consultant at Care.com. “Finance professionals need to be equipped to focus more on the substance and less on the compilation of financial reporting.”
Technological advancements are also improving the planning, budgeting, and forecasting process, and helping organizations achieve business outcomes and mitigate the risks of underperformance. For example, new approaches are bringing together planning, forecasting, reporting, transactional finance, and workforce data in a single system, stored in-memory, to give finance accurate and immediate access to business data and the capabilities to effectively collaborate with stakeholders across the business.
Cognitive computing will also grow in importance, especially in planning and forecasting. According to the report “Redefining Performance Insights from the Global C-suite Study – The CFO Perspective” from IBM, 38 percent of CFOs single it out as one of the technologies most likely to transform their enterprises within the next few years.
Check out part two of this blog series, focusing on the current readiness of finance teams for the future and how finance leaders can find and develop the talent they will need.