CFO – Establishing scalable optimized systems and processes is key
The CFO role at multinational organizations around the world has changed significantly in the last decade- there is likely to be more change in the future as no C-Suite or executive role will be immune to a changed business landscape as a result of the global pandemic.
Given the widespread business uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic caused, money chief financial officers are now more focused than ever on scalable and optimized systems that are capable of withstanding major shocks to the market.
While the hope is that they never again have to face a shock quite like the one we have all endured for the last 18 months, it has nevertheless brought into sharp focus the need for sustainable business processes underpinned by agile, robust and flexible technology platforms.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the things a modern CFO can do to introduce scalable systems and processes across the wider organization they are responsible for. Their goal will be to ensure multiple different departments are set up in such a way that they can work together as a cohesive unit, to deliver on the wider strategic goals of the overall company.
Longevity and sustainability
These are the typical reasons that scalable systems and processes are needed- the day of the quick win seems to be over, and multinational companies meet to remain competitive for long periods of time and ensure that they have sustainable revenue streams and profit margins.
A powerful and agile internal technology stack will be required to help put in place the structures and support mechanisms needed to ensure that an organization is both ready to take advantage of new opportunities while continuing to advance market share in any areas where it is already successful.
Any lack of connectivity between business-critical service delivery departments and any legacy technology stacks which lack innovation will only be detrimental to the cause and slow things down. CFOs will be examining technology stacks and processes both in their financial services operations department and the wider organization to see if the core technology foundations and current business processes are likely to meet future needs if the goal is sustainable revenue streams and business longevity.
Before diving into the technology side of things, CFOs and the finance team need to understand the forecasting & budget process and have an understanding of how a technology stack will impact these metrics. CFOs need to have a new technology investing strategy in place prior to undertaking a technology project, as this will help direct and ultimately limit costs.
The business justification will likely be around optimizing costs in the long term with the introduction of a technology stack that connects a range of different departments. The initial costs should prove worthwhile in the long term as they will enable the optimization of systems and technology stacks in a way that supports scaling activity into new territories and regions. The finance function has the opportunity here to streamline costs and optimize both financial planning and financial management.
From the correct digital platform to the use of innovative digital tools including automation and artificial intelligence, a CFO needs to find ways to connect technology stacks across different departments for optimization and sustainability. This will enable a strong foundation for ongoing business growth and scaling activity- without these foundations in place, it can be difficult to act fast and decisively when seizing new opportunities. any strategic ambition must be accompanied by a technology stack that is capable of delivering on this ambition.
The CFO is emerging more and more as a senior figure within an organization with the capacity to support continued and long-term growth and profitability. Together with the wider finance organization, this person is there to make strategic decisions when it comes to technology investments within an organization. They have the power to release funds when necessary, making them key players when it comes to supporting growth. The role of the CFO is to apply due diligence and risk management while examining the roadmap and optimizing operating models to ensure scalability is factored into any potential investment.
A CFO always wants to be surrounded by the right stakeholders with the right level of expertise that can help them make the right decisions. CFOs are data driven and very analytical by nature- they want to carefully consider the facts before making a decision that can potentially impact an organization for decades.
They will therefore look to leverage internal expertise in the form of senior IT leadership figures and digital transformation managers. They will also want to speak to senior figures within business- critical departments so global payroll managers, financial operations managers and HR leadership teams will also find themselves with a seat at the table.
The overall objective will be to leverage all of this expertise and come to a series of conclusions around what type of investment will best support the wider needs of the organization in the long term. Everybody will have an opinion, and each will have their own preferences- but it is very likely, that interconnected technology stacks capable of seamlessly sharing data and crucial information with each other, is something that we will receive enthusiastic backing from all stakeholders.
CFOs therefore need to focus on technology integrations, data sharing capabilities, data security and digital innovation. This gives them the best chance to create a profitable and sustainable, technology driven process where digital platforms become business enablers capable of delivering on the long-term strategic goals of the multinational organization. Investing in digital, integrated and innovative technology stacks is something that a CFO may feel gives the organization the best chance of success in the long run.
Focus on digital
The best way to establish scalable optimized systems and processes is to focus on digitizing existing processes so that they can be improved. This will make them more agile, responsive and adaptable and enable them to move with the kind of pace needed to support business scaling activities.
Using digital processes to connect technology stacks between related and interconnected departments such as global payroll and human resources is a good way to start introducing scalable processes. Many digital processes, especially those deployed in the cloud environment, are built to scale in line with business operations to achieve growth.
CFOs and finance leaders will be very focused on the current digital capabilities within their organization- and they’re becoming more and more aware of emerging trends and new technologies that point them in the direction of the most appropriate digital platforms to support the product and service offerings at the multinational.
Digitization can help many business processes by introducing automation, innovation and overall operational competencies while reducing costs and overhead in the long run. This is something that will appeal to any cost-conscious CFO interested in the best technology to connect different software products in the organization while improving financial performance.
Cloud platforms that help to link and connect related department such as human resources, finance and global payroll have the capacity to genuinely support long term growth and business scaling. When business critical departments are able to share data securely and smoothly with one another, while using digitally innovative tools that help to optimize process and boost productivity, this increases an organization’s overall capacity to scale in line with ambitions.
Digital processes are better for connectivity and innovation- cloud platforms are the future and innovative digital tools must be a part of any CFOs thinking when their focus is on optimizing technology stacks to help them establish scalable processes inside their organization. The flexible and adaptable nature of the ever-changing digital world means that any investment made right now is likely to reap long-term dividends.
Those who ignore digital capabilities when it comes to scaling may find themselves stuck with legacy technology that cannot cope with the demands of the organization as it looks to move into new territories or product markets. This would be an unsatisfactory and largely unacceptable situation which the office of the CFO will be keen to avoid.
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Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.
Payroll Manager, LogMeIn
Payslip as a technology platform has added a missing piece in our payroll set-up. As an international company with offices in 16 countries, it’s important to us that every employee at GetYourGuide has the same great experience when accessing their pay data.
At the same time, we work well with smaller local payroll providers, supporting us with direct local expertise in their countries. We were able to combine those two elements by placing the Payslip platform in the middle, to simplify reporting and communication with local providers, and to have one simple employee-facing solution across all locations.
Head of HR, GetYourGuide
With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.
International Payroll Manager, Phorest