According to the PwC’s 2019 Finance Effectiveness Benchmark Report, top-quartile companies are learning to prioritise in three specific areas for higher returns and increased productivity.
1. People management
Five out of six actions that can be taken to improve finance functions are directly related to people management. Enhancing interactions and relationships comes in just behind improving communication and collaboration, and just ahead of upgrading skills, empowering decision making, and clarifying roles.
By assembling the best team possible, committing to a solid onboarding and training process, and providing each team member with the best tools possible, you can drive productivity significantly. When you fail in even just a single area, you cripple your entire endeavor. Shifting budgets to focus on transformation starting with processes that involve your people first is key.
2. Task automation
Automation, efficient use of capacity, shared services, and outsourcing can drive costs down and revenues up. When repetitive back office processes are streamlined through automation and delegation, high-level officers within an institution spend less time on bureaucracy and more driving company earnings. Shifting to automation only works if the automated processes are tested and made foolproof, however; fixing issues caused by poor deployment can cause costly delays and loss of trust both internally and externally.
When it comes to digital transformation, automation goes hand-in-hand with behaviour change. Ensuring compliance and perfect handling of complex processes before handing off roles to automation is an imperative, and transactional processes that should have end-to-end ownership to control accountability. When automation and behaviour change are accomplished in tandem, wasted time can be reduced by 30-40%.
3. Data analytics
Connected, self-service financial data can drive insights, enhancing performance and driving your organisations forward. Three-fourths of all time in top-performing finance functions is devoted to data analysis vs. data gathering. Automation is key here, as well, with every step from acquisition to analysis transformed by the use of tools that refine models more quickly and accurately than ever.
Artificial intelligence and deep learning are moving more quickly in the finance sector than in any other field. By investing in both the tools and the people capable of analysing data on a massive scale, you can harness its power to develop entirely new strategies for company growth and expansion.
CFOs who fail to leverage the opportunities available in these areas will see their companies fall behind. Organisations that adapt quickly to business changes and adopt the latest best practices in each can enjoy significant growth.