Article

Optimizing your tech stack to future-proof your finance function

6 examples of success

Dec 11, 2023
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Today’s complex business models must handle global expansion, acquisitions and seamless development of new products and services. That strain, coupled with ongoing talent shortages and stricter cost management edicts, means modern CFOs and finance leaders are under more pressure than ever. Adopting a modern tech stack provides a foundation that delivers financial accuracy, agility and rapid strategic insights critical to business success.

Times change

Today’s finance tech stack looks very different from just a few years ago. Your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is now only one leg of the stool, and its general finance functionality is often not powerful enough. To truly compete, you need to augment your environment with an extra layer of finesse, achieved through fit-for-purpose solutions (specialized solutions that perform a specific task efficiently and accurately). By cherry-picking the right fit-for-purpose solutions, embracing automation, fully integrating your data and leveraging advanced analytics, you can build a solid finance foundation that supports growth and enables your teams to spend more time on value-added activities.

Integrated architecture and automation

Market trends

Within the end-to-end finance processes below, fit-for-purpose solutions use automation to benefit the organization in the following ways:

1. Financial close

  • Using high-volume transaction matching to reduce reconciliation time from days to minutes
  • Automating journal entries and reconciliations to shorten the financial close cycle and/or allow more time for analysis and insights
  • Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to more quickly and easily generate explanations for account balance fluctuations
  • Using pre-mapped allocation and elimination configurations to automate the consolidation process, delivering a shorter close and faster reporting

2. Reporting and compliance

  • Aggregating, integrating and linking data to generate financial statements and other required reporting to ensure connected, consistent reporting both internally and externally
  • Adopting tools to efficiently track and test internal controls and SOX compliance, leveraging a digital workflow

3. Planning & budgeting

  • Deploying corporate performance management and enterprise performance management tools to seamlessly aggregate enterprise-wide inputs in organizational planning, providing constant visibility to leaders
  • Using scenario planning automation to create a simple, fast, flexible system that can account for different scenarios, variables and drivers

4. Lead to cash

  • Accounts receivable solutions using machine learning to manage credit/AR, automate the application of cash receipts and increase working capital and working cash flow

5. Source to pay

  • Automated strategic sourcing and purchasing embeds controls that ensure adherence to company policy and compliance with preferred vendors, saving time and money
  • Accounts payable or invoice automation removes the human element from the equation and delivers measurable savings to the organization. Accounts payable automation systematically extracts invoice data, codes it to the appropriate accounts, sends it through an automated workflow and initiates vendor payment, reducing time and effort through the end-to-end process.

6. Treasury management

  • Aggregating cash positions through bank connectivity to provide visibility into the organization’s working capital
  • Automating tracking and prediction of cash inflows and outflows to improve cash forecasting and enable optimal use of working capital
  • Enabling more sophisticated treasury strategies for risk management and investment

Conclusion

In the current, uncertain economic environment, performance efficiency is pivotal. Smart middle market firms are accelerating their financial transformation and automation journey to achieve it.

A tech stack architected as an ecosystem of integrated technologies is the strongest foundation for operational efficiency and sustainable growth.

Finance leaders who prioritize a modern tech stack and craft a systematic implementation strategy will position their companies for continued success. Additionally, their teams will be primed to leverage emerging technologies like AI, machine learning and predictive analytics as they become more mainstream in the middle market.

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