Tech needed by Finance to achieve organizational agility

June 10, 2021 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Financial operations teams and the office of the CFO at multinational organizations around the world need to achieve organizational agility so that the company as a whole can carve out a competitive edge.

Organizational agility is a concept that many departments in every company would like to embrace and adopt successfully.  But it requires significant technology investment and broad stakeholder buy in- there has to be commitment and diligence and a genuine desire to do what is necessary to achieve the final result.

What we’re talking about here is a mixture of technology, people, processes, culture and leadership all merging together and rowing in the same direction. It can be achieved and those organizations who are successful with organizational agility, tend to go on and become successful at a wide range of other things too.

In this article, we will examine some of the things that need to happen in financial operations departments to achieve organizational agility as well as looking at some specific pieces of technology that can play a significant role in achieving a positive outcome.

Prioritize tech investment

Modular technology stacks- essentially platforms where you can take what you need for right now and then add additional pieces at a later date when you need them, can be a very worthwhile investment in the quest for organizational agility.

It is about being able to respond to present moment needs while also creating long term value that facilitates business scaling and growth. The finance operations department or the office of the CFO can be responsible for greenlighting investment in technology across a range of individual departments at a multinational company.

These days, there have been technology advancements that can add real business value to practically every department in a corporation. HR technology has advanced with new and better HCM systems on the market that really help an organization to recruit, on board and induct a new employee quickly.

Global payroll technology has also undergone major digital innovation in recent years- and finance teams looking to introduce innovation to this business-critical process while also looking at where cost saving can be optimized would be well advised to look at digital platforms that can apply structure and management to the way multi-country global payroll is delivered in the organization.

Finance and supplier management technology has also improved dramatically- within the finance operations team itself, automation technology can help with the automatic generation and delivery of specific invoices for example. There is also ongoing development in the field of accountancy software.

These are just a few areas where organizational agility can be achieved relatively quickly within some modest initial investment in technology across some key business services.

Tech to support scaling

Right now, financial operations teams and business leaders at major companies are tasked with growing their business models as the world and business economy emerges from a devastating global pandemic. You might be forgiven for thinking that basic survival would be the priority but that is not how it works- C-Suite executives and leadership teams will always look for the opportunity in something that negatively impacts the business landscape.

They will take the view that the global pandemic and subsequent market conditions has had disastrous consequences for many businesses including their competitors and now is the ideal time to move forward with speed and agility- seizing new opportunities in the business environment when and where they are available and using digital transformation and new organizational structures to do it.

A very agile and responsive technology stack and suite of digital tools will be needed to help make this a reality. The focus then should be on technology that supports business growth and scaling initiatives- any discussions around which pieces of technology to purchase and invest in should also include acknowledgments around business strategy and a desire to enter new markets and territories. Any technology invested in will need to be able to support these goals around competitive advantage, right from the outset as opposed to looking at them again a year or two down the line when the economy has recovered, and pandemic related issues have calmed down.

Technology for financial modelling

Predictive analytics and financial modeling are crucial right now – the business world is emerging from a global pandemic and entering a situation it has never seen before. The future of work is unclear, but it will likely contain a hybrid working model. Some industries like aviation and tourism might never be the same again- so technologies that help with financial modeling, financial planning and predictive decision making are of major value right now as leadership teams around the world consider their options.

Financial modeling technologies will have a significant role to play in strategic decision making at the highest level. If technologies exist that can predict financial outcomes with reasonable accuracy and can point to areas of specific opportunity in a post pandemic world, then a CFO and several other members of the C-Suite team are going to be interested in learning more.

The best financial modeling and predictive analytic technology will not come cheap, and it would be unwise to rush into a decision on it. Many of the creators of this technology will claim that theirs is the best- but financial operations executives in the finance function and a CFO may need to apply their most detailed level of analysis yet when making a decision around new technologies such as this.

Tech for cost management

There is nothing new about a desire or need to control costs at a multinational organization- and every finance team or CFO will have this as part of their remit. They have a duty of care to ensure any technology purchased is done in a way that supports long term cost optimization.

Organizations will be looking to introduce technology that has the capability to develop cost savings or cost efficiencies in the long run.  Robotic process automation or machine learning technologies along with artificial intelligence tech springs to mind here. These are technologies that can apply speed and efficiency to bulk data processing that may have previously been carried out manually by cross-functional teams.

The nature of these technologies is that they often come with built-in capacity for duplicating a process after it has been initially configured to handle a specific task. Essentially, the technology scales the process, reducing the need for additional man hours or external costs.

This concept of scaling the process instead of the man hours, if applied to a range of business functions such as sales, procurement, human resources and global payroll can add significant long- term benefits and cost saving efficiencies at an organization.

Finance operations teams always have a duty of care when it comes to cost optimization and cost management, so they will be carefully examining any technology that can handle large bulk processing with duplication capabilities.

The above are some considerations for financial operations teams and decision makers when it comes to investment in technology within their organization. Any decisions they make will need to conform to a financial management plan and be achieved on time and within budget- This is not quite as easy as it may sound. The global economy is emerging from a very damaging pandemic, so cash control and visibility around how money is spent is of major importance.

Finance teams need to make clear and transparent decisions around technology investment- the goal will be to achieve organizational agility in the operating model that supports the goals of the organization- both in the short term as it emerges from the pandemic- and in the long term as it looks to carve out new market share and seize new opportunities faster than the competition. Things move fast and finance teams need to show agility when releasing cash for the right level of investment at the right time- they would be well advised to have continuous and ongoing discussions with technology subject matter experts and IT leaders to ensure that they are releasing cash for investment in the kind of technology that best positions the organization as a whole to prosper.

 

For information on the Payslip Platform contact us today.

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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.

Colin Smith

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.

Julian Fichter

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.

Ana Kelly

International Payroll Manager, Phorest