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Finance Operations Efficiency

July 13, 2016

Digital And Automation Enable Finance Operations Efficiency

Finance Operations Efficiency - A Forrester Report for SAP
Finance Operations Efficiency – A Forrester Report for SAP

Evolve Finance Operations To Meet Business Needs

To respond quickly to customer needs in today’s digital economy, business leaders are demanding that finance delivers greater insights on business performance and tools to help them make better business decisions. Therefore, it is paramount that finance operations is efficient, meets compliance requirements, and delivers valuable insights to better support the business. In April 2016, SAP commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study with 200 finance operations leaders around the globe who have influence in their organization’s financial decision-making process. All respondents were key decision-makers or influencers and had knowledge about their organization’s finance operations, accounts receivable, compliance and risk management approach, real estate management, shared services strategy, and expense management.

Top Finance Operations Priorities Focus On Efficiency, Risk Management And Compliance

Priorities for Finance Operations Efficiency
Priorities for Finance Operations Efficiency

To enable them to make better decisions, business leaders are demanding greater transparency on finance operations and performance. So it comes as no surprise that finance operations leaders are prioritizing increasing efficiency, managing risk, and enhancing processes as their top priorities. The study revealed that the key strategic priority for finance operations leaders is to improve efficiency (69%). In addition, they are looking to manage risk and drive compliance (59%) so that their organizations comply with their local regulatory needs and minimize potential brand-damaging incidents. Moreover, 59% of finance operations leaders are prioritizing improving their processes.

Finance Struggles To Meet Business Goals And Contain Costs

Struggling with Finance Operations Efficiency
Struggling with Finance Operations Efficiency

Finance operations leaders are struggling to provide the transparency and efficiency that the business needs to make more informed decisions. Over a quarter of finance operations leaders said that managing and supporting revenue growth is one of their top two biggest challenge. Over 20% of respondents identified that supporting the business strategy and improving customer satisfaction are difficult to manage. And the pressure is only growing. Finance operations leaders are not only struggling to support their business goals, but they are also being tasked to reduce costs. Twenty-one percent of respondents highlighted that they struggle to manage and reduce operations costs.

Lack Of Functional Knowledge And Timely Access To Data Keep Finance From Meeting Goals

Challenges with Finance Operations Efficiency
Challenges with Finance Operations Efficiency

The challenge to support business goals and contain costs is being compounded because of: A lack of functional knowledge for finance operations staff. Forty-one percent of respondents indicated that poor or limited knowledge of finance operations is a top challenge and hinders internal team performances, affecting the operations functionality and processes. Timely access to data. Respondents indicated they are challenged because they do not have timely access to information/data (32%). This is necessary to ensure the most relevant and accurate information is being used to inform business decisions. Response times. A further 32% of respondents said they are challenged to reduce response times in meeting finance operation priorities.

Digital Technology Investments Must Enable Automation And Analytics

Automation & Analytics for Finance Operations Efficiency
Automation & Analytics for Finance Operations Efficiency

Finance operations leaders seek additional investments to enhance user experiences and enable employees to make better decisions. Finance leaders told us they are looking to enhance:

  • Automation and self-service. Sixty percent of organizations said they are looking to automate and accelerate invoice and payments. A further 53% of organizations are also looking to reduce their paper trail through improved automation. Organizations are also looking to empower employees to make smarter spending decisions (48%).
  • Reporting and analytics. Fifty-seven percent of organizations are seeking additional investments in technologies to enable better reporting and analytics capabilities for better decisionmaking.
  • User experiences. Over two-fifths of organizations are also seeking technology investments to increase their employee’s accessibility to expense tracking via mobile devices. This will boost employee productivity by saving them time in managing their expenses and allowing them to focus on more value-added tasks.

Boost Finance Operations Efficiency – What’s Required?

In today’s increasingly digital world, finance operations leaders must effectively meet business demand. To do this they must:

  • Improve finance operational efficiency. By increasing operational efficiency, finance operations will be able to better manage risk and improve processes to support sustainable and improved business performances.
  • Invest in software technology, which includes the newest analytics capabilities, to provide deeper insights. By leveraging analytics technologies, finance operations teams will be able to turn data into valuable, practical, and actionable insights and allow the business to make more informed decisions.
  • Enhance process automation. Automating finance processes boosts efficiency and reduces costs and risks by eliminating opportunities for manual error.
  • Seek the help of a reliable technology platform partner. Improving finance operations processes and efficiencies while reducing costs can be achieved by partnering with a technology platform provider that has deep industry expertise and extensive knowledge of new technologies and can provide an end-to-end finance solution.

Download the Forrester Report Digital & Automation Enable Finance Operations Efficiency

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