Is Your Finance Team Adapting To A Flat Economy?

March 26, 2015

In an unpredictable economy, agility is essential for creating accurate plans, identifying opportunities, and for taking corrective action.

Over the last several months, Canadian companies have experienced added pressure to how finances and operations are managed. A sharp drop in the dollar and a decline in oil prices has hit regions across Canada differently, putting uncertainty back into the economy. Being able to quickly model one’s business to reflect the ongoing fluctuations in the market and how it impacts the bottom line is a constant and absolutely imperative during times of instability.

It’s a journey, not a destination to business efficiency. Deeper analysis and scenario planning is now required in order to bounce back from the unpredictability of market variations. By understanding what we can control and recognizing advancements in technology can help give us access to information faster and more accurately than manual based processes is a differentiator. There is never a perfect time to invest in systems, however forward thinking companies are looking to technology not only to be prepared in times of change, but better position themselves for business growth and scalability for when markets pick up.

To assist with continuous improvement efforts, executives need access to accurate and timely information to help make informed decisions. Many executives are looking to Finance for information, while Finance leaders are turning to technology, specifically Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solutions to help augment existing decision support tools. Particularly spreadsheet based tools and processes. By adopting innovative ways beyond the traditional management of margins and costs. By helping support the ongoing and future success of the business with more effective collaboration and organizational alignment. Finance is positioned more than ever to be the stewards in today’s economy.

According to Aberdeen Group, best in class companies see the need for business agility and are turning to technology to increase adaptability based on the following factors:

The strength of Corporate Performance Management technology lies in bringing core departments together to make the right decisions. What’s more, all decisions are in turn collected, reported and analyzed as one unified plan. In order to fully benefit from this process improvement, Finance need to not only incorporate operational Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data, but include financial planning and budgeting considerations into the conversation. This is where Corporate Performance Management becomes the alternative to spreadsheets and the hub for business analysis. Businesses need to live in the now, but as equally important plan for the future by ensuring the right people, processes and systems are working in unison. Technology is helping build a foundation for growth, while ensuring structure and processes are in place so executives can react quicker with more accurate information, thereby competing more effectively.

It is more important than ever for companies to streamline processes in order to gain a competitive advantage. Understanding what processes you can automate to help improve decision-making, optimize costs and mitigate risks is a crucial step in setting a foundation for continuous improvement. Businesses of all sizes can look to technology as an enabler for change and harness Corporate Performance Management capabilities to translate strategic planning into tactful execution. One method leaders may consider, is assessing the overall health of the business by evaluating its future technological direction with industry leaders.

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