In January of last year, I wrote about the importance of being agile against the backdrop of so much change. But at that time, many changes were known, such as impending tax laws and accounting standards. This year, we don’t have the luxury of knowing what’s going to happen on many fronts. Agility has become a necessity.
For finance teams, being agile means having the ability to plan—and re-plan continuously as events change. For example, if you are a computer hardware company and the price of imported components goes up, finance needs to be able to quickly assess the impact to the business, execute on decisions made by the business, analyze the results, and then repeat.
Many finance organizations struggle to plan in this way for a few reasons. First, many don’t have easy access to or trust in their data. Teams are working with data that is spread across multiple disparate systems, so most of their time is spent on gathering and reconciling data. As factors outside their organizations continue to change more quickly, that time will cost them.
Finance teams also need the systems, processes, and resources to quickly execute on decisions. Now is a good time to evaluate if your systems are helping or hindering you. How long does it take you to make changes once a decision is made?
I strongly encourage companies to invest in technologies now that will help them navigate uncertainty and drive performance as things change. Our customer CFOs have told us that moving to a cloud-based finance system helps them execute on tasks more quickly—such as closing the books faster and serving their internal customers with fewer errors.