February 10, 2022
As accounting software continues to advance, so too will the role of finance.
But how will it happen? And how much and how far will it change?
Our industry is in a state of flux and while this can be a tumultuous time, it presents opportunities for those that wish to take them.
As a financial technology organisation that has been active in the accounting software space for the past 23 years, FinanSys has a unique viewpoint on the advancement of our industry.
In our role as a software reseller of Infor SunSystems, we see first-hand how the industry is evolving and there are some recurring themes developing.
Moving away from data processing to Finance Business Partnering
Finance business partnering is when the finance team impact other departments to make better decisions by providing insights, thus creating value and driving business performance.
Accounting software has evolved to the point where it is now providing the platform for finance teams to become an insightful partner in the business and not just a supplier of data.
Cloud and mobile capabilities mean actionable insights are at the users’ fingertips.
Finance teams can now support decisions and take action in a way that was not possible with traditional accounting software.
And what they do will have a real impact on the future of the company.
Finance teams positioning themselves as a business partner need to possess skills that were once reserved for those in other departments. They must now be comfortable with analysing data, interpreting the results, and formulating conclusions.
They must understand how the department contributes to the profitability of the company and be willing to communicate that information in a way that is understood by management and the different areas of the business. This isn’t just presenting the raw numbers. This is presenting the story behind the numbers.
And they will need to be able to do all of this in a style that is concise, easy to understand and appropriate.
Driving Insights and Business Performance
We believe finance will be at their best when they take the role of trusted advisor to their company. This repositioning of the finance department might not be an easy conversation for many in finance to have, but one that must take place anyway.
The finance department must play the role of 'finance business partners' who work closely with other relevant business units in creating a real and active partnership with both operations and management.
The goal of this position is to deliver "real-time" support and analysis, as well as to add value that will assist in decision-making.
In order to begin this transformation, finance departments will need three key pieces of technology:
1. An industry-leading accounting system that has a range of easy-to-use modules and cloud deployment options
2. Analysis, reporting and visualisation tools to simplify the collection, interpretation, and presentation of data
3. Dashboards to deliver insights in a clear and concise manner
But this is not just about technology. It also needs a finance team with the appropriate soft skills to communicate and influence business decisions.
Soft skills (e.g. effective communication, leadership skills, presentation and storytelling) are vital in the role of a finance business partner as this role targets sharing insights and creating value with management and other stakeholders to drive better decisions for the company.
The role of finance will be about building strong relationships, increasing transparency and creating an open dialogue.
And importantly, they will need to have the ability to translate financial data for each business unit.
While the finance team at the base level is saddled with the responsibility of keeping the company’s books clean and managing cashflows, the finance team of the future will become much more proactive in how they add value to the organisation.
Finance should embrace the role of being a trusted advisor and use accounting software to its full advantage to produce insights that will help their organization perform better.
In the coming years, we believe the role of finance will continue to evolve and that this new dynamic will change how we do business.
Driving insights and business performance will become a new norm, and it is essential that finance teams begin taking action towards partnering with the business to help drive this value.
About the Author
Josh Dalton is the Sales and Marketing Director at FinanSys, a dedicated provider of Infor SunSystems. As an Infor Gold Channel Partner, FinanSys has a financial management solution for every business, backed by 20+ years of experience. Get in touch with them for SunSystems implementation, training, configuration and support.