We all know that digital transformation is more than just a buzzword. It can lead to tremendous business gains, increased efficiency, and quicker, more data-driven decision-making. As a finance leader, you’re likely interested in digital offerings for your own department, but perhaps haven’t had time to progress with your growing workload and managing people working from home.
If you’re like most organizations, the data silos in place can make it challenging to lead a successful wholesale digital shift. Operational information from other departments is often fragmented and protected, and each department relies on its own distinct set of processes. You might also be concerned about your staff’s existing digital skill sets and whether they can adjust to a brand-new system.
The good news is that when you start small and keep your focus narrow, the digital shift doesn’t need to be overwhelming. After all, we all need to start somewhere. Here’s where we recommend you direct your attention first.
Tip 1: Decide on the processes that need updating
First, meet with your own team, as well as the CEO and key members of other departments, to identify which financial processes would benefit the most from a digital update. Determine which tasks and processes require the most administrative attention and where ROI would be the highest.
For example, budgeting and forecasting tend to be the most time-consuming and error-prone areas in finance. In this case, it could make financial sense to switch to a system that streamlines budgeting and forecasting, easing the process of collaboration between departments and improving accuracy.
Tip 2: Use a platform that works for everyone
No matter what technology you decide to invest in, look for a product that can consolidate all data from your ERP and other business systems. When everyone is working from the same database, it can be easier to create buy-in for company goals and keep everyone on the same page.
Data is no longer generated in silos. Instead, you’re all working with the same information. By investing in a simple, interactive technology that provides value from the start, finance leaders can speed up the shift toward digital transformation.
Tip 3: Provide real-time visualizations
You know how difficult it can be to glean insights from static spreadsheets. When you research digital solutions on the market today, look for products that provide real-time visualization of financial performance. Instead of analyzing company data in spreadsheets, it’s much easier—and more compelling—to view critical information in the form of charts, graphs, maps, and other graphics.
Dynamic visualizations of financials eliminate the need for many confusing spreadsheets that slow down decision-making. Real-time dashboards can enable your team to respond to challenges quickly and decisively.
Phocas Financial Statements is an example of a digital solution, built on a BI platform, that provides visual reports and dashboards at a glance. Staff can access key insights and information they need to make critical, on-the-spot decisions. It’s also simple to create and customize dynamic profit-and-loss statements, cash flow, and balance sheets.
Tip 4: Start small
Digital transformation can be a long process. Even if you already have an existing ERP and other backbone systems, it’s still a good idea to start experimenting with the latest digital solutions. Start by creating small digital experimentation projects, evaluating your areas of highest need, and then work toward digitizing the most essential finance tasks.
Once you have established a track record for success with digitizing certain tasks, then you can work toward the main goal—rolling out digital transformation efforts throughout the finance department and the company.
To find out more about how you can get digital transformation efforts off the ground, download our ebook, Modern financial planning and analysis