In the new normal, CFOs can navigate businesses towards profitability and financial health by adopting advanced technology and numerous digital initiatives.
CFOs face a dual challenge, to accelerate growth by implementing new initiatives and restoring the organization’s financial health. As per a recent Gartner report on ‘Top priorities of Finance Leaders in 2021’, 7 out of 10 board directors interviewed mention that the COVID-19 impact has significantly accelerated the adoption of digital business initiatives. Undoubtedly, CFOs have a large role in such strategic decisions, which is designed to deliver continuous value and agile strategies, real-time risk assessment and mitigation, undertake better informed and faster decisions, automation across the various functions to simplify process and drive efficiency.
During the lockdown, several industries had undergone revenue losses and suffered liquidity issues. Supply chain has seen disruptions leading to volatility in commodity prices, and almost all saw a shift in consumer demands. And certain industries have been impacted more than others with the dislocation of employees. For the last 18 months, a CFO’s priority has been to optimize the company’s liquidity and cash reserve, maintain the health of the balance sheet not just for surviving in the near-term, but be equipped to make bold moves in the new normal.
Gaining the competitive edge with technology enhancements
CFOs can leverage technologies that can act as game changers across layers. To gain a competitive advantage in today’s world, a mix of unique digital initiatives can give businesses an upper hand, such as:
- Operating Model: Advanced technology can help in developing an operating model which uses mobile-based technologies, advanced reach in a no-branch situation, online KYC systems, behavioral analysis systems using analytics.
- Connected Experiences – Firms gain leverage with the power of connected data through digital customer profiles, tailor interactions and promote relevant content, provide platform for contact less payments, ensure safety of employees through remote connectivity.
- AI and Digital Assistants – Its expeditious to respond to various requests through prebuilt skills and templates offering conversational experience.
- Effective Automation- Repetitive processes such as extracting and mining information from scanned copies of purchase orders and invoices need to automated, thereby reducing manual effort and eliminating risks caused through human errors.
- Rapid Deployment – Cloud Applications can be up and running in hours instead of months.
Leadership in a post-recovery phase
In the current volatile environment, businesses are reassessing ways to equip and manage their operations. The need for frequent, transparent communication with business partners, colleagues and investors has rapidly increased. Finance teams need the ability to model a variety of scenarios that impact liquidity and explore options to conserve cash: scenarios where customers delay payments; explore alternative lines of credit or non-traditional funding options such as conduct divestitures, cut major planned projects, and consider strategic initiatives, seek relief on debt covenants as early as possible to strengthen the balance sheet – every option is now on the table. That is exactly what strategic modelling in EPM Cloud does — explores every option in detail and the costs and liquidity impact before suggesting specific courses of action.
[box type=”success” align=”” class=”” width=””]A CFO must navigate the firm in a volatile world and empower his team in decision-making with a data-driven approach[/box]
CFOs prepare for a range of scenarios that incorporate economic recovery, government policy and market demand factors. The key objective is to stay agile and develop alternate strategies.
Acceleration of Digital Business Initiatives is a strategy that can create value in the long run. It is designed to deliver continuous value, set agile strategies, mitigate real time risks, and automate operations costs. The objective is to drive functional improvement in finance operations, engage employees with value-added services thereby managing employee retention, ensure high performance and handle working capital effectively.
By digitalizing existing systems and processes, organizations can break down data silos, so that processes can flow automatically end-to-end, across departments and teams. Cloud and digitalization are the biggest catalysts for a host of disruptive new business technologies, from chatbots and artificial intelligence to blockchain and IoT. Cloud technologies help companies redefine modernization, foster innovation, and stay relevant. There is an industry-wide push to the cloud with customers seeing value in their businesses. With the cloud investment model, it is more important than ever for CFOs to demonstrate that their investments deliver tangible business benefits, both now and in the future.
[author title=”” image=”http://”]Excerpts from an interview in conversation with Kaushik Mitra, senior director; Cloud ERP with Oracle India. Kaushik has worked with Oracle for close to 18 years, a significant part of which was spent in managing Oracle Applications and Cloud Technologies. In his earlier role at Sify Technologies, he was responsible for setting up and driving revenue and growth for Cloud Application Services[/author]
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