Digital Finance experts – carry the baton for better strategic reporting
In our recent employment survey dedicated to the Digital Finance arena we asked the question ‘What do you believe will be the most important topics of innovation for 2017?’ One of the top answers was ‘visualisation and dashboards’. In other words the presentation of the right data to the Office of Finance in an accurate, meaningful and accessible way.
eu-solutions is a business dedicated to the Digital Finance community. We have supported the CFO office since 2006 and operate in the centre of a network of talented finance IT professionals that partner with finance stakeholders every day to deliver robust finance systems solutions.
As part of that commitment we like to share our insight about what is important to Digital Finance professionals today. Strategic Reporting seems to be one of the hottest topics of the day.
A changing finance culture
The concept of finance being merely a support function, sitting somewhere in the building that nobody goes to, is well and truly gone. Savvy businesses are putting finance executives in charge of insight, analysis and strategy, and so, EPM and Digital Finance experts must give finance executives the tools that they need to perform meaningful analysis and make the right decisions at the right time.
Technology is everywhere and is such an integral part of our everyday life that we hardly notice it’s there anymore. Just look at our children and their ability to navigate technology! The business and finance world is no different. We now have a generation of finance executives all the way up to the boardroom that are completely comfortable with technology. They operate their lives on mobile devices and similarly they want easy access to their financial numbers on a screen and to have them to hand in their bag, in their pocket.
And yet, we still see finance executives walking from meeting to meeting and on the plane with mountains of paper to navigate. The CFO office is asking for a better way and the tools are out there. I believe it is the custodians of the digital finance systems – finance systems managers and administrators – that can bring this reporting revolution to the CFO Office.
The presentation mile
The days of excel are numbered, we all know that (even though it is still over used). I am working on the assumption that our community has embraced new digital finance core platforms – the ERP and EPM layer. There has been considerable investment into these platforms over the last 20 years and whilst they are constantly being improved, the foundation is there.
We believe the agenda is switching to the reporting layer – the presentation mile, the polish if you like, that can take the data churned out of the ERP & EPM tools and present it in a usable and accessible format.
Digital Finance experts – take the initiative, carry the baton, and soak up the praise
EPM experts and those experts managing digital finance systems act as the perfect intermediary between IT and finance. They bridge the gap and are able to establish what finance partners want and how to deliver it to them through technology innovations.
There is a crucial process to follow to ensure effective digital reporting. In our opinion it is the CFO Office (and not IT departments) that should be driving strategic analysis and so the process must begin there: with finance executives defining which are the KPI’s linked to their operational effectiveness.
It is then the role (and opportunity) of finance systems managers and teams to translate these needs to create the right data architecture and put in an effective data governance and then implement an effective reporting platform on top of their existing ERP & EPM system.
We believe our community of professionals in Digital Finance and in particular EPM, are in pole position to carry the baton for this reporting revolution. Take the initiative, make the changes, give finance executives the tools they need to perform at their highest and feel the praise flood in.
About the author
James Porter is a Managing Consultant at eu-solutions, a recruitment business dedicated to the Digital Finance sector, in particular ERP, EPM & Analytics. We manage a community of Finance IT professionals – Insight Partners – across Europe and the US that are available for interim and permanent assignments www.eu-solutions.com