3 Emerging Technologies Changing the Finance Department
Emerging technologies have made it easier to navigate the world of finance.
To save money, time and effort, CFOs are turning to ERP technologies to automate repetitive tasks and integrate business processes.
Here’s how three emerging technologies — cloud ERP, smarter analytics, and robotic process automation — are changing the way financial services do business.
Many areas of business embraced cloud technologies long ago, but CFOs have long resisted. Many CFOs are still skeptical about using cloud ERP for finance. In particular, CFOs are concerned about functional maturity, implementation costs, privacy and security regulations, and direct control.
However, as cloud ERP offerings improve, more CFOs are seriously considering using cloud ERP for finance. migrating to cloud ERP is not impossible, but it is difficult and often complicated, especially if a company uses more than one legacy system. This can be difficult if the company is older, as IT will be forced to tackle processes that were put in place by people who no longer work there. In many cases, the system is so old that no one on the IT team can remember why things were done a certain way.
However, the finance department can migrate to a cloud ERP with concrete planning skills, meticulous attention to detail, and good project management. A common mistake is to underestimate the time required to migrate to a cloud ERP. A successful migration often requires support from senior management, and key stakeholders need to be directly involved in planning and implementation.
Once cloud ERP is successfully implemented, it can take time for everyone to figure out how to use it properly. The main stumbling blocks are forcing users to stop using ad hoc processes and instead turn to trusted processes and the functionality of the new system.
AI for finance
The range of AI tools is still in its infancy for finance, but a number of companies are piloting use cases. As the quality of data and analytics improves, AI will improve to target critical issues for the finance department. For example, the AI will flag errors that need to be corrected and can look for outliers in normal spending patterns by vendor, product, or region. Risk detection is another important area that CFOs are exploring using AI, for example, analyzing news for threats to vendors and notifying the IT team of any potential risk.
Automation of robotic processing
Robotic processing automation (RPA) — which many consider a form of AI — can help streamline an organization’s year-end close. CFOs and their teams can use RPA to automate time-consuming processes like reporting, which involves manually collecting, filtering, extracting, and cleansing data. Another area where financial services use RPA is to add a new vendor, which typically involves the laborious process of verifying, validating, and updating data. A CFO can also use RPA to examine the equipment used by workers to understand how they perform their jobs. This is crucial in creating a better employee experience, as the CFO will have insight into how employees are doing their jobs and what is working or not working.