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By David Williams, Chief Financial Officer, Tungsten Network

David Williams

David Williams

Outside of our working lives there is one thing we all have in common: we are all consumers. Every day we purchase or consume goods and services for our personal use. So, we are all likely to have witnessed the improvements in customer experience over the last ten years. It could be an algorithm presenting you with suggested purchases lists, chat bots handling your queries instead of being left to listen to the draining on-hold jingle, or high-speed delivery services winging a package to you within hours of placing an order. Companies recognise that they need to pull out all the stops in order to deliver satisfaction to their customers.

Today’s customer does not discriminate.Irrespective of the industry, they form their expectations by comparing and contrasting brands. This means any customer experience is pitched against the greats of service like Amazon, Waitrose and John Lewis.Whatsets these businesses apart from the competition is that they quickly realised consumers were embracing digital channels and swiftly moved to install digital infrastructure that delivers a seamless and straightforward experience to their customers.

Brands who have been able to do this have since reaped the rewards as customers know they will get a consistent and frictionless experience when dealing with their business. Also, the copious amount of customer data they’re able to gather allows them to refine their processes and make informed decisions on where they can implement efficiency measures. This trend has made investment in technology no longer a competitive advantage but an absolute necessity.

This highlights the paramount importance for organisations – regardless of their size or sector – to have the right infrastructure in place when it comes to digitising their operations. This infrastructure should be available across all teams and departments, including the back office. Finance, for example, is one area in which the digitisation of processes and procedures that handle even the simplest of tasks, can create great efficiencies across the supply chain.

For a CFO sitting at their desk wondering what Fintech disruptions can help them simplify and enhance their processes, there are plenty. However, one area in which technology is creating its own frictionless experience is in invoice financing. Perhaps no other link in the financial supply chain is riper for technological disruption by those interested in reducing financing costs, creating efficiencies in the processing of invoices and ultimately saving money on the corporate bottom line.

E-invoicing platforms can support businesses in ensuring that a seamless and safe process is in place to make and receive payments on time, as well as ensuring that all invoices received are 100% accurate. E-invoicing also eradicates the risk of invoice fraud with all invoices received through the network being checked as legitimate. In fact, research from Tungsten Network has revealed that UK SMEs are losing up to £9bn every yearto fraudulent invoicing scams. This just highlights how crucial smart technology is when it comes to invoicing.

In addition, businesses that use the networkcan access innovative spend analytics technology to analyse their invoice data, offering comparisons against past spending patterns, and often uncovering significant opportunities to make savings.The technology can also provide useful insight into which suppliers they are spending the most money with and where duplications may be occurring.

Today, a CFO who doesn’t embrace technology risks is tying themselves and their team down to time consuming, old-fashioned processes, which will hinder their ability to respond to change. In the consumer world we have seen many businesses who have failed to innovate and implement digital infrastructure become extinct. Keeping up with the pace of the market and its demands is something that can only be done through embracing the digital era, as seen in the customer service we all now experience.

In today’s ever-changing world, we can all agree businesses need to be agile and any CFO must be ready to adapt for what may come. Therefore, getting the back office basics right can add huge value through providing new found time which can be assigned to more valuable tasks.

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