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Freed from the drudgery of admin, Chief Financial Officers have more time to spend on strategic work.

Today’s chief financial officers (CFOs) have become the chief cooks and bottle washers of their organisations, as their roles increasingly demand that they step into new roles and challenges, while managing the company’s finances and strategy.

Traditionally, CFOs were primarily responsible for financial reporting and compliance. Now, they are viewed as strategic partners to the Chief Executive Officer, playing a critical role in shaping the organisation’s strategy. They’re at the centre of decision-making processes, offering financial insights to guide the company’s strategic direction. 

Finance leaders face tough challenges in the workplace, which transcend financial planning and analysis, risk management, cost management and compliance. They are required to leverage technological advancements to allocate capital and financial processes, streamline reporting, enhance data analytics, navigate geopolitical issues, manage talent and even grapple with talent management, because skilled finance professionals are critical to an organisation’s success. 

Furthermore, as digital reliance grows, CFOs are on the frontlines to safeguard sensitive financial data. 

Striking the right balance to maximise shareholder value is a constant challenge. Pair this with the introduction of new technologies and an abundance of financial data, and the role of the CFO is rapidly evolving.

Many CFOs are finding themselves with new responsibilities, and the potential effect they can have on the direction of their organisation is growing fast. CFOs are strategically positioned to make decisions that drive performance, accelerate growth, and push innovation, which gives them more of a leading role than ever as they are viewed as key to driving profitability.

With mounting responsibilities, CFOs need new tools to help them take ownership of data, reporting, and analytics, to guide their decision-making for better results. They also need to enhance their own department’s performance, so working smarter is imperative to save time and focus resources. 

Automation is the answer, to eliminate the mundane and time-consuming tasks, balance responsibilities, reduce errors and ensure efficiencies. It also improves employee performance and collaboration, reduces stress, enables them to learn new skills, take on challenges, and grow professionally. 

Here are some ways in which technology can be leveraged to automate tasks in finance:

  • Financial management software can automate routine tasks such as bookkeeping, invoicing, and financial reporting.
  • Cloud-based expense management tools can automate the tracking and approval of employee expenses, making the process more efficient and reducing the likelihood of errors. It can also increase accessibility, collaboration, and scalability.
  • Budgeting and forecasting software can automate the creation of financial models and scenarios, making the planning process more dynamic and responsive.
  • Blockchain for financial transactions can reduce the need for intermediaries, enhance security, and automate transaction verification.
    Machine learning and predictive analytics can analyse large datasets, identify patterns, and make predictions, to aid in risk management, fraud detection, and financial decision-making.
  • Regulatory compliance software automates compliance tasks, ensuring that the finance department stays up-to-date with changing regulations and standards.

By lightening the load that financial admin can present, your team is freed up to focus on more strategic tasks, and not be bogged down by manual and repetitive tasks.
Agility and being able to respond quicker to market and customer needs is a competitive edge.

Yet, despite these advantages, too many finance leaders are not automating their processes, relying on monotonous processes that are driving inefficiencies and stress in their departments.

Sage’s research suggests only about half of finance leaders are automating, although the benefits of quality financial software are indisputable.

In a Sage research report, “Fast close. Faster insights”, more than 1,000 finance professionals shared their thoughts on the potential of automation. One such example is the financial close: a process that ordinarily involves a good deal of manual activities, every month and at the end of every year.

Sage’s research found that on average, a company takes seven working days to close its books, which is about a third of your working time each month.

The solution? Sage Intacct, our cloud-based financial software that helps customers connect their financial management and projects, thereby empowering management at the store, brand, and group level to make informed decisions. It seamlessly integrates with a company’s banking transaction feed, workflow, point of sale, and business intelligence systems.

For our hospitality client Life & Brand Portfolio, which has eight brands in its stable, including Tiger’s Milk, La Parada, and Old Town Italy, Sage Intacct provides a single solution at both the store and brand level, and allows them to run consolidated reports for the group.

“Sage Intacct helps us achieve our goals by automating processes we used to execute manually and putting real-time insights about our business at our fingertips,” explains Daniel Smith, Life & Brand Portfolio’s Financial Director.

Retail Capital, another Sage customer, is a small business funder which has funded over 50,000 businesses with more than R8.5-billion over the past decade.

To scale as planned, Retail Capital needed a system that could cater to its rapid growth rate. “What attracted us to Sage Intacct was the fact that we could upgrade the system as our business grows, so the platform grows with us,” says Tyler Posthumus, Retail Capital’s Chief Financial Officer.

Sage Intacct has helped Retail Capital to automate its complex processes, and deliver rich business insights — proof that Sage is uniquely positioned to help companies like Retail Capital grow and adapt.

Time is valuable. Instead of wasting it on manual, time-consuming processes that are inefficient and wasteful, your department could be speeding up the closing process and instead using that extra time on training and personal development, strategic planning and data analysis.

By capitalising on the financial data your business produces, you can drive growth, nurturing the best talent, and maintain compliance.

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