The right technology stack can supercharge the infrastructure that powers a business.
As the co-founder and CEO of a payment automation software company, I’ve seen firsthand how the best tech stacks can drive significant business value and financial health for organizations — but I also know that reaching that end goal can be a major challenge. The number of software products for any given function has exploded over the past few years, and the considerable overlap between capabilities makes assembling a seamless and fully integrated tech stack a complex undertaking.
Research from Gartner demonstrated that technology optimization was still a top priority for finance leaders even before the pandemic, and this shift will only pick up steam. Although COVID-19 initially led many CEOs and CFOs to prioritize short-term needs (such as cash-flow) over long-term strategy, it also made an even stronger case for automation and digitization in finance departments everywhere.
Cutting a large portion of the finance workload using intelligent automation allows your team to refocus limited resources on what matters most, and paperless processes empower a workforce to accomplish tasks from anywhere in the world.
Focusing on Integrations
It’s normal for a company to start with more basic technology solutions for primary financial building blocks, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, and spend management. Once these initial components are in place, however, you’ll want to consider which areas can benefit the most from increased automation. Implementing these solutions will help your organization scale, provided they work well with the rest of your technology stack.
After all, the workforce is changing, and investments in your tech stack should be optimized to take advantage of these changes. Although building a full-fledged tech stack is not “one size fits all,” there is one critical feature that cannot be ignored: integrations. Any addition to your tech stack should complement your other solutions instead of creating new manual processes that negate any benefits.
4 Must-Have Features in Your Tech Stack
Besides excellent integration capabilities, there a few other common themes you should look for in an ideal tech-stack addition. Take a step back and thoroughly evaluate your current processes, looking for solutions that include the following features:
1. A strong foundation. Depending on your business, the foundation for your technology stack might include a cloud enterprise resource planning tool, accounts payable automation, billing systems and financial planning tools, business intelligence tools, and more.
When you already have part of your tech stack established, you should look within a solution’s ecosystem of partners to find integrations that solve issues you’re experiencing. No matter which product you choose, invest in a stable infrastructure that you can count on under any circumstances.
2. 100% cloud-based. The pandemic made it obvious that any solutions bound to one physical place — such as an office — are unacceptable liabilities.
Instead, your finance tech stack should be built around tools that are 100% cloud-based, allowing remote, 24/7 access for your finance team. Even after the pandemic has subsided and it’s safe for your employees to return to the physical workplace, remote work will continue to be a reality in many industries — and future hires will be looking for flexible options when they apply to a job at your organization.
3. Strong financial controls. Remote tools and access capabilities present risks ranging from fraud to the possibility of regulatory missteps. These and other exposures must be mitigated with strong financial controls that remove the need for manual processes such as paper-based invoice approvals or the issuing of physical checks.
4. Multi-subsidiary capabilities. If your organization includes several subsidiaries distributed across various geographies, any additions to your technology stack must offer multi-subsidiary capabilities so your company can continue to function optimally. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a spiderweb of services that are almost impossible to navigate quickly and efficiently.
The best tech stack is a pillar of organizational productivity. The right solutions can empower an efficient, agile, and scalable business, while a disjointed tech stack with a bewildering array of products makes even the most simple tasks a source of confusion and frustration. As you modernize your own tech stack, prioritize solutions with the features mentioned above — and remember that consolidation and integration of these solutions can have a transformative impact on your organization.
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