The 5 Real Benefits of Finance Transformation
Finance Transformation projects are large scale endeavours, costing millions and causing major disruption to staff and processes before they deliver Benefits, so why do them?
It's a fair question and having been through 20 major change projects across multiple sectors, I can appreciate the trepidation with which many Finance Leaders view a Finance Transformation project. As with all successful Change programs you need to be clear on why you are doing it and what you are aiming to achieve.
A crystal-clear vision of the future of Finance is essential to inspire all stakeholders to complete the Mission. It will in many cases take years to deliver the full Benefits of a Transformation program so always have front and centre in everyone's minds, why you are doing it. An image works wonders in reinforcing a Transformation Mission Statement. It should be an inspirational, uplifting, and concise message.
Therefore, what Benefits can a CFO expect after millions have been invested and the Finance team and process has evolved over the lifetime of the Transformation program? In my experience here are 5 Key Benefits that a CFO should expect a Finance transformation program to deliver:
1. Profits: Every Business exists to make a Profit! If you invest millions in a Finance Transformation program, including an ERP upgrade, you want a return on your investment ideally within 3 years. Initiatives to improve Finance service delivery will naturally focus on people, process and technology but this does not always deliver increased Profits.
There must be focus on realising the Benefits of the Transformation program as detailed in the Business Case, however this takes time. Therefore, rigorous attention must immediately focus on the numbers to unlock cashflow within rebates, overdue debt, disputed debt and fraudulent payments as examples.
If a Finance Transformation program only focusses on the Technology and People, it will miss the cashflow gold dust in the Accounts. This is where Finance Transformation UK adds real value as our Consultants are all Finance people, first and foremost.
It is a Finance Transformation program after all, make sure you always review the numbers!
2. The Truth: 'One version of the truth!' Many Finance Transformation programs are initiated to address a landscape of multiple Finance and Business systems each contributing to an inability to deliver fast, effective and consistent management insights to drive the Business.
The primary demand from a CFO of their Finance function is fast, reliable and effective information. Unfortunately, many Finance functions fall way short in this expectation and have become bypassed and irrelevant as the Business seeks alternative sources of management information.
Finance Transformation UK deal with this in two ways. Firstly, Mark Saywell our ERP Strategy Practice Lead will work with a CFO to ensure they select the most appropriate ERP based on a thorough understanding of the management information required, where a new ERP is required
Secondly, we offer an alternative for Clients who are not embarking on a full ERP upgrade but still require the management insights. We Partner with Lumilinks to use Digital Finance technology to transform Data to obtain the management insights required quickly, securely and effectively for immediate use in Business decisions. The time differential, cost and minimised disruption are key drivers for Clients who opt for the Lumilinks option.
3. Protection: Stuff happens as they say, and Finance should be the first line of protection against all threats to the Business. Management Insights drive Market and Competitor analysis, compliant Systems and Processes protect against Fraud and meet Regulatory requirements, and the best Finance functions attract the best People!
As you can see Protection takes many forms and has many impacts. A transformed Finance function creates the time and space to scan for all external threats and protect the Business. Those who are only focussed inwards will not even see the threat coming!
4. Cultural Shift: A Finance Transformation program does not always focus on Cost reduction and increased Profits. There may be an acknowledgement by the Board that the numbers may not be the prime driver, instead that the Finance function requires a Cultural shift in order to face the future.
As the world of work changes to adapt to remote working, hybrid working and the motivations of the millennial workforce, Companies must offer a new 'Work Experience' if they are to survive and thrive and the innovative approach of Finance Transformation UK Consultants turns traditional thinking on its head!
Have you heard of the Finance transformation UK self-organising, self-governing, self-driving 'Management Academy'? It's a millennial magnet!
5. Growth: If a Business exists to make higher Profits, a key driver of this is Business Growth. Finance must be at the heart of all business decisions and a transformed Finance function must be the 'go to' source for all Management Insights.
Analysis from internal sources lies within the internal business systems but to be truly effective this has to be enriched with external data sources on Market, Product, Customer and Competitors. Providing this enriched data to drive business growth is the speciality of Finance Transformation UK Partner - Lumilinks!
Author: Michael Ryan
With 25 years' experience Transforming Finance across multiple Sectors as a Consultant and as a Finance Transformation Leader, Michael Ryan is uniquely placed to advise Clients on creating a World Class Finance Team. Call him now on 0203 1466878