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By Philippe Gangneux, ‎Chief Financial Officer at Sidetrade.

Philippe Gangneux

Philippe Gangneux

According to a survey by PwC, in 2017, 60% Chief Financial Officers are looking to upgrade their information systems to strengthen and accelerate automation. Their priority is to simplify processes and implement new performance indicators. Today, the ERP is not sufficient to fulfill the new objectives of the Finance function. The CFO is not only managing closing anymore, he becomes an architect of the new Business Models through the data he holds.

Choose the right solution to analyze and process this data is a significant challenge for Finance. Discover 5 tips to orientate your decision.

Cloud vs on premise

Digital trends are evolving and the Finance function is no exception. In 2017, 43% of Finance departments consider digitalization mandatory to increase performance and manage risks. To achieve this goal, they have to conduct a careful review of the many solutions on the market. On premise software, which requires an installation of the company’s servers and a purchase through licenses, is more and more challenged by SaaS vendors. With more than 32% growth in one year, the SaaS market reached 13 billion dollars at the end of 2016. This model rapidly captures market shares.

In 2017, 83% CFOs think that Cloud computing is becoming a basic requirement for their information systems.

Secure the data

Data security is often one of the reasons justifying the choice of an on premise solution. While data security is still a major concern, it is no longer an obstacle for Finance functions. In fact, the improvement of data reliability is one of the three Cloud ambitions evoked by CFOs – along with IT costs reduction (42%) and tools roll out (30%).

Personalize your solution

In 2017, 76% of CFOs still believe that their teams spend too much time collecting data, something which is explained by an increasing amount of more complex reporting procedures and manual, labor-intensive processes. To improve data collection, “turnkey” SaaS solutions offer to the final user a personalized interface, configured according to each business requirement. Human capital is less focused on reporting, collecting and analysis of data, and more on visualization and forecasting thanks to predictive analytics. 41% of Chief Financial Officers say they plan to implement visualization and mobility tools to improve Finance Function efficiency.

Optimize costs

Digitalization is definitely one of the CFOs key priorities for 2017. However, it can necessitate a modernization of current information systems and therefore represent an important budget. SaaS solutions do not require any license purchase and allow a high level of personalization to concord with CFOs expectations, like budget or cash flow forecasting. Indeed, 38% of Chief Financial Officers said they wanted to integrate cash in their predictive analytics. Cash flow forecasting is one of the main areas in which predictive analytics are used by Finance Functions.

By selecting only useful units, costs can be rationalized and objectives fulfilled while closely controlling the budget.

Make your data speak

In 2017, one of the CFO’s new challenges is to make the data speak. It is therefore necessary to collect internal data but also to aggregate external data to build sharp benchmarks and predictions. Today, only 24% of Chief Financial Officers integrate external data to improve budget forecasts. Yet they are more than 40% to wish to integrate new methods that include external data and introduce new practices to improve anticipation. Predictive modelling can achieve this goal and enhance business collaboration by mastering data. In fact, the sharing of information between operational and Finance teams remain an essential prerequisite for CFOs:

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