Finance functions in Singapore will dramatically change in the next normal, said Workday when releasing a survey report recently.
More than four in five (83%) Singaporean finance professionals needed to do financial planning and budgeting at least two or more times in the year, to ensure their organisations remained agile and are able to adapt to the fast-changing business environment, according to survey results.
This is compared to over half (54%) who did financial planning and budgeting only on an annual basis before the COVID-19 pandemic, where budgets are traditionally set out at the start of the year and adhered to throughout the twelve month period, Workday said.
- At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the top concerns for Singaporean finance professionals were cost containment (78%), supplier risk management (61%) and revenue projection (56%).
- Singaporean finance professionals are shifting their priorities to address a technology acceleration gap. Finance digital transformation (71%), new driver-based models for scenario planning (65%) and cash and liquidity management (62%) are now the top priorities for many organisations.
- When asked what is most important for them to achieve in the next three years, the most common response was to lead organisation-wide digital transformation initiatives (38%).
- 81% cited artificial intelligence/machine learning as being most impactful in their industry for the future, closely followed by centralising IT support/software integration (80%) and mobile platform capabilities (75%).
- The above is in line with Singapore’s transformation initiatives outlined in its recent 2021 budget, which saw S$24 billion (US$17.9 billion) allocated over the next three years to help businesses innovate and build capabilities in 5G, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
- Organisations have leveraged technology to support their finance functions throughout the pandemic. Key areas include enabling frictionless finance (65%) through e-Commerce, internet banking and digital payments, and allowing organisations to retain the complete picture by improving connectivity (62%) in remote working, business development and internal communications. It has also provided an infrastructural backbone (45%) for many organisations such as through centralised cloud storage.
Previous compliance and data management conventions obsolete
In addition, the pandemic has also made previously accepted conventions for compliance and data management obsolete, Workday pointed out.
The advent of remote working and new channels of communication have also posed new governance risks for many organisations, the firm added.
A third (33%) of Singaporean finance professionals said that it was difficult for their technology systems to change in accordance to new industry regulations and demands, survey results indicate.
A similar number (32%) also find it challenging to change their organisation’s data protection policies, the report says.
Close to half (47%) of the respondents said they do not have the right talent or resources to ensure their data systems are compliant and up-to-dat, the report adds.