6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility

    As the finance function becomes increasingly dependent on automation and analytics, finance and IT are more connected than ever before. But these connections don’t come without challenges. According to a recent study of finance professionals, many in finance are unable to streamline processes and achieve success as a result of the failing tools at their disposal. The failure isn’t a breakdown in innovation – it’s the speed of change. The rate at which technologies are being adopted is much slower than the rate of new innovation.

    This breakdown in adoption places an increasing pressure on IT to support a business-critical function. IT must work with finance to improve agility and drive additional business value.

    In this slideshow, SAP S/4 HANA Finance has identified six ways IT can improve financial agility and decision making.

    6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility - slide 1

    Improving Financial Agility and Decision Making

    Click through for six ways IT can help improve an organization’s financial agility and drive additional business value, as identified by SAP S/4 HANA.

    6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility - slide 2

    Help Define Data Standards

    Thirty-one percent of finance professionals feel that the greatest barriers they face to improving their companies’ financial planning and analysis capabilities are a lack of data standardization and poor integration with IT. IT can help decide the most relevant and available data for finance to consider, tapping into disparate systems to develop relevant business insights. 

    6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility - slide 3

    Encourage Greater Transparency

    The growth of data allows finance professionals greater transparency into the data that they use to make their business decisions. IT’s role in this process is to use technology to unlock valuable systems of insight, in order to produce more accurate and balanced financial forecasts. 

    6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility - slide 4

    Support Real-Time Analysis

    The study found that 84 percent of finance executives believe that, over the next two years, the demand for ad-hoc decision support and analysis is likely to increase. Thirty-two percent believe that the demand for real-time analysis will increase substantially as well during the same timeframe. IT can support this demand by automating outdated systems and standardizing financial reporting across organizations. 

    6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility - slide 5

    Integrate Finance with ERP

    Finance professionals want financial planning systems that tightly integrate with core ERP systems. With a tight integration between the two processes, financial decision-making becomes a streamlined and effective procedure. Eighty-two percent of respondents with financial planning systems that were tightly integrated with core ERP systems believe that this factor was a great help to the finance decision-making process. On the other hand, out of the respondents who lacked integration between the two processes, only 12 percent felt that their IT systems contributed to finance’s ability to support decision-making.

    6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility - slide 6

    Ease Data Migration

    Eighty-three percent of respondents believe that their companies would financially benefit from less time, attention and resources devoted to data migration and manual reconciliation. A lack of digital infrastructure makes finance professionals feel as though they are wasting their time, waiting for technologies that cannot keep up with the real-time nature of the financial industry.  By providing financial experts with the proper foundation for data migration, costs, risks and time consumption can be mitigated.

    6 Ways IT Can Improve Financial Agility - slide 7

    Review Finance Processes Regularly

    Fewer than 50 percent of organizations have reviewed their compliance processes or technology for the past three years. According to a number of scientists, technological change occurs at an exponential rate. Financial technology must be reviewed constantly in order for it to have any chance of keeping up with the rest of the world. 

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