Accounting software makes life easier. Fewer manual processes mean that manual data entry is reduced, with the consequence that data is more trustworthy. But automating part of the process is not enough. The next step is data integration, so CFOs can spend less time producing numbers, and more time acting on them.
Higher expectations on the CFO
Increasingly, finance leaders are being seen as business partners, not number-crunchers. But in order to meet the business’s demands for insights – financial and beyond – the CFO has to dedicate more of his/her time to meeting business needs, rather than simply crunching numbers. This is only possible if someone/something can take care of the numbers so that CFOs have time to focus on the business.
Automation and integration are key
In a recent white paper entitled “CFO insights on success: preparing for 2015 and beyond”, Stuart Rogers (CFO of Lineup Systems) says: “In finance you have to put yourself at the heart of the business… We need tools to help us do the controlling so that we can spend more time adding value through business insight and analytics instead.”
For him, the answer lies in providing systems that take away the painful manual processes of yesteryear.
Understand the numbers, don’t just produce them
Garry Cook, Group Accounting Director at Gamma Ltd. came to the same conclusion. In future, “as systems and processes evolve, you will see more automation being brought into the finance function. The production of numbers will be more of a commodity, and we will spend more time understanding the numbers as opposed to just producing them”.
Garry and Stuart have both automated their finance systems, including their employees expenses – so they have a vision of how much less manual the future will be.
Their conclusions: get an automated, integrated process
Automating your finance systems – for example with Sage 200 – is a good start. But don’t stop there. It’s worth integrating your finance systems with tools like expense automation software to save your team time they would have spent re-keying expenses line item by line item, while providing visibility and insight.
“We could have continued with Excel spreadsheets…” says Stuart Rogers, “[but] we wanted to give our staff the appropriate tools to manage their travel and expenses and to hold them accountable for their use of company funds. Concur helps you do that.”
By automating business processes through software, the finance leader can get time back in his/her day to analyse data that can, in turn, inform business-leading decisions. It’s also possible to integrate Concur with Sage 200 via IMan – a data connector that extracts csv files from Concur into the accounting system.
About the Author
Gina Balarin is the UK SMB Content Manager at Concur where she enjoys getting to write cool stuff about how businesses can save time and money and (incidentally) submit, process, approve and reimburse business expenses. Gina has more than 11 years’ experience writing for businesses and telling people’s stories through marketing. Predominantly a lover of words, when she isn’t reading a book or sitting behind a keyboard touch-typing at 89wpm, you can find her enjoying nature in the Oxfordshire hills.