While companies and their finance functions need to have clean data to achieve success in digital transformation, they must also deal with issues such as data silos and data visibility.
Terry Smagh, SVP Asia Pacific and Japan, BlackLine recently shared his insights into the data visibility issue with FutureCFO.
FutureCFO: Why does enterprise data become siloed?
Terry Smagh (TS): The nature of tax and corporate structures means that periodic reports and reviews must be created, and it generally comprises facts and figures drawn from many different sources.
Finance staff draws information from excel spreadsheets, the organization’s ERP systems, and other different silos of information to make manual exports.
Until companies deploy a solution that’s capable of aggregating discrete data silos, interfacing with legacy and third-party systems and automating processes, results will suffer— and not just at period-end.
FutureCFO: What should CFOs do to increase the visibility of data for better decision making?
TS: Technology is helping to provide the meaningful, real-time data we need to make timely, well-informed decisions and deliver direction to other parts of the organisation.
The rise of RPA has unlocked greater efficiencies by automating processes, such as the reconciliation of zero-balance accounts, and it also allows finance teams to take a more holistic look at the financial close process.
That is why it’s integral for CFOs to lead the technology initiatives for their organizations to identify the best infrastructure investments to ensure sustainability and position the company well in the future.
Solutions are available to enable CFOs and their teams to strategically lead the business, by making more confident decisions based on real-time numbers and current performance.
FutureCFO: How can CFOs work with IT to achieve higher data visibility?
TS: As technology continues to accelerate changes, CFOs and CIOs must work together to secure their organisation’s future.
The first step to building a successful partnership is to create mutual understanding. Here are three steps to get started.
Learn CIO lingo to bridge the communication gap. Clear communication is a struggle that both the CFO and CIO face in their attempt to create a solid business relationship with one another.
Set goals together. Finance and IT set IT goals together to establish reasonable expectations of technology and effectively align IT with business strategy and timelines.
Collaborate regularly. Both IT and finance need to collaborate regularly to effectively deal with overlap in department responsibilities. No one person or department can lead all the technological changes that are required to stay competitive in this data-driven age.