The new remote working landscape is pushing communication and technology capabilities to the edge. How are finance teams and auditors managing their processes remotely to achieve operational efficiency?

With all the usual challenges at year-end, and the next quarter looming, simply improving legacy systems isn’t enough. “Accruals, adjustments and internal transactions can throw up lots of queries that working in-person can expedite. If you have separate systems and haven’t got live data to hand, then any change can take several hours,” says Justin Wheatley, former RVP Financial Systems at NewVoiceMedia. 

We continue to hear from companies that CFOs with disparate systems and remote teams are making the best of it, trying to absolve the stress of their team, and mitigate the financial risk to the business that manipulated data and inaccurate reporting can cause. 

The value of a 360-degree view 

Companies with cloud solutions for Finance and tools for remote collaboration are reaping the benefits. Being able to see all your data in real-time will enable teams to close the month, quarter or year efficiently, with precision and accuracy.  

Keeping your ERP on an integrated, yet stand-alone platform is vital. It enables your finance team to update and access the financial information such as the general ledger and profit & loss account. But still display financial information to other objects, giving the business a 360-degree view of the customer account.  

“As a sales user, I don’t need to see the ledger or create journals, but I do want to see the financial return of an account. If outstanding payments are showing up and I’m speaking with the customer, Finance and Sales can work together to collect the money and close the deal,” says Will Davidson, VP, Sales at SalesTrip.

The customer journey 

The customer is at the centre of business. By having all your data on one platform, like Salesforce, you can get a 360-degree view on all the activity related to them. By tracking the customer journey from Lead to Ledger, you can focus on your top accounts and customers and jump in if any issues start to arise.  

Lead to Ledger includes Service team reports, i.e. is your customer raising cases, logging enhancements? Through to Finance, are their invoices outstanding? If one of your top accounts has had multiple issues with a product and is raising cases with Service, then Finance calls them to say your invoice is outstanding, you are likely to upset your key contacts. Having that 360-degree view of your customer would enable a Service Account Manager to add a ticket so Finance can see not to call until the resolution of any product issues. Keeping your customer happy and feeling supported, increasing loyalty and trust.  

Invest in your people and invest in systems that support your people.

There is a cost to design and implement a streamlined Lead to Ledger platform. But if you want to be head and shoulders above your competition, then you need a 360-degree view of your customer.  

By having everything on the Salesforce platform, you are empowering your employees to deliver the best possible service. The CFO, CTO and your CRO all have the most accurate information and a complete view of the customer. With disparate systems, additional resources are working unnecessarily. And you are still not achieving that full picture of the business!  

Creating a seamless process 

Customers want an enjoyable experience and a frictionless process. From the first touchpoint to becoming a customer, the end-to-end process should flow intuitively.  

CFOs who get the process right can shorten the close cycle. Improving forecasting and reporting, avoiding overly manual, error-prone processes. 

“When we were doing Billing at NewVoiceMedia, services were paid for annually in advance. We would raise the invoice, post it into the system, then spend days doing a journal to defer the revenue. Afterwhich, we’d start writing all that revenue back month-by-month. This is a huge process and would take about four people to action. When we systemised revenue recognition with Salesforce Billing, we could schedule this process and saved days on that close – just on that one process.” Justin Wheatley shares.  

“At the moment, companies are doing scenario planning more frequently. As a CFO,  you want to understand and prepare for the unknown impact on your revenue, costs and, most importantly, your cash flow. It is vital to be agile and have real-time data.” says Samantha Bodycomb, CFO at PhiX Technologies.  

Delivering operational efficiency for growth 

By transforming the Lead to Ledger process, you improve the customer experience and speed up processing. It also enables you to systemise manual tasks, reducing the need for junior finance roles, opening up the opportunity to scale the business in other areas such as R&D or Sales.  

“The return on investment is Finance goes from being an inputter of numbers to a real business partner. Giving value back to support sustainability and uncover growth opportunities.” says Samantha.   

Insights using real data is where you can add immense value; such as what is the company’s target market? Where should we be looking to gain the most sales? Which deals can be recognised as revenue? What percentage of discounts can we apply to particular products?  

How we can help 

We want the CFO to have accurate information at their fingertips. To be able to report how much cash is really in the bank? Or what type of deals are required to increase profitability right now? If the finance team is too busy crunching numbers, then this data is never released, and operating efficiency isn’t enabled. 

Some customers don’t become profitable until year two of their contract, with the right systems and accurate reporting; you can make that profitability come sooner. Having that information when you need it in real-time and all-in-one platform will help you to make informed decisions quickly.  

The good news is the technology is available to improve processes, overcome obstacles, and steer the business towards transformation success. We are supporting the finance leader to move away from traditional finance tasks. Empowering them to be a central and strategic business partner in these challenging and uncertain times. 

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