The Modern CFO: Think ERP, Think Ecosystem

30 September, 2022
5 min read
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What you'll learn

  • Understand the current process of closing books
  • Learn the role of emerging technology in evolving finance function into a strategic front-runner
  • Learn how the ERP – Intelligent automation ecosystem aids financial transformation
A quick peek into traditional financial closing
Current process of closing books (Organizations relying only on ERP modules)
How does emerging technology help the finance department evolve into a strategic front-runner?
How does the ecosystem aid financial transformation initiatives?
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Want to make your finance team a more strategic partner that offers insightful recommendations for organizational improvements?

Here is what Lawrence Chester has to say about the ERP + Intelligent automation ecosystem and how it aids the improvement process. Lawrence Chester served as CFO for Colovos and High Sierra Sport for 25 years, reducing losses and improving financial operations and reporting. 15 years ago, Lawrence started CFO Simplified. His team helps mid-market CEOs with business turnaround, mergers, acquisitions, and financial and operations management.

The finance department, which was previously thought of as a back-office function, has now taken on a much more strategic front-facing position. The rapid speed of digitalization has prompted many CFOs to digitally enhance their finance landscape. Finance as a process is now about deep analysis of financial data and cash flow improvements rather than just dealing with repetitive and manual bookkeeping tasks.

Let’s understand how organizations are embracing financial change and upending the status quo with a data-driven platform.

A quick peek into traditional financial closing

Traditionally financial closing was a manual process and involved gathering, logging in stacks of data (e.g. reconciliation data, adjustment of account balances, financial transactions), and analyzing the data from various systems. Having somebody do such manual data entry tasks is not the best use of your resources. Since all of the tasks were done manually, it took longer to close the books. This meant the finance team worked longer to analyze, plan and predict their cash flow while also dealing with the errors that came as a result of manual entries.

Current process of closing books (Organizations relying only on ERP modules)

Everyone wants to expedite the financial closing. ERPs like NetSuite realize this need and are increasing their capabilities through integrations and partnerships enabling specialized finance modules within the ERP. These modules help with month-end closing, one of the key financial functions, and help complete it much faster as compared to when it was done manually.

In a benchmarking report covering 2,300 organizations, the bottom 25% said they need 10 or more calendar days to perform the monthly close process while the top 25%, can wrap up a monthly close in just 4.8 days or less — about half the time of the bottom 25%. One of the reasons organizations have been successful in doing so is because of the adoption of an additional solution that automates the low-value task. Such an ecosystem (ERP and a layer of intelligent automation) manages manual tasks while involving human resources only in high-value-added skilled tasks. This frees up time and enables companies to unlock individual resources’ ability to make decisions.

How does emerging technology help the finance department evolve into a strategic front-runner?

Emerging technologies like RPA, AI, and ML are the key players in automation technology today. These technologies are the one-stop solution to solving some of the major issues prevalent among SMBs today. One such issue is employee turnover. SMBs usually depend on a single resource to manage certain key functions. When this resource resigns from the organization, most of the tasks they were responsible for come to a standstill. The situation continues till the company is able to find a suitable replacement.

Employees are no longer satisfied doing routine manual & repetitive tasks, they are now keen on taking control over the high-value activities and avoiding day-to-day rudimentary activities. They are seeking jobs that allow them to think, make decisions and improve the current state of the business.

IDC Artificial Intelligence Report 2022

An advantage of implementing intelligent automation is driving decision-making at all levels and involving executives only in areas that require strategic thinking. Additionally, intelligent automation improves efficiency, reduces costs, adds value, and enhances delivery capabilities. It also further optimizes ERP capabilities with real-time data, hence helping you better view the current scenario and predict the future financial state.

Reduce manual entries and improve match rates through bank account reconciliation automation

How does the ecosystem aid financial transformation initiatives?

In order to completely accomplish your financial transformation, adding a layer of intelligent automation is essential when you already have an ERP system in place. One must integrate technology solutions that enable the expected level of automation within the existing ecosystem. An ecosystem of ERP and intelligent automation solutions helps you get the best out of your finance team and acts as a single source of truth for all financial information.

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