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Jun 26, 2019Finance & Accounting Services

Finance. Evolved. The Future of Finance

Finance. Evolved. The Future of Finance

While the future of finance isn’t written, there’s one thing you can say with confidence—everything is evolving. The processes and the concerns of the past are going to look different from what’s coming.

But even if the future is unknown, looking at today’s trends can reveal a lot about what the future holds.

That’s what we did on June 18, 2019, during a webinar entitled, “Finance. Evolved. The Future of Finance.”

Over the course of this 60-minute event, OneSource Virtual CFO John Bax joined Matt Schwenderman, principal at Deloitte, and Craig Anderson, SVP of global solutions and finance and accounting at Genpact, for a discussion of finance’s future.

Drawing on Deloitte’s eight predictions for the future, John Bax addressed three specific areas: the role of finance, finance cycles and self-service. His comments are summarized below.

The Role of Finance

It wasn’t all that long ago that processes like accounts payable were largely paper-based. Invoices were received by mail, and then someone would be responsible for manually entering that information and cutting a physical check.

But that’s no longer the case. Most are submitted and approved electronically. And even in those cases where a paper invoice is received, it doesn’t stay paper-based for long. The invoice is scanned, and the most critical data is extracted so that the rest of the process can be completed digitally. The result of this is that employees are able to focus on more strategic activities.

This will inevitably impact the types of skills needed by finance employees at every level. As an example, in the past, most CFOs would be expected to have strong accounting backgrounds. But as many of the activities around accounting are automated or outsourced, other skills—from creative thinking to communication—will rate higher.

This may have the effect of humanizing more aspects of finance, as fewer employees have to focus on manual, repeatable tasks and can instead focus on work that feels more meaningful.

Finance Cycles

In the retail world, real-time insights can immediately impact a business’ strategy, not just in terms of what they sell but also in what they choose to promote and to whom they promote it.

But for the most part, businesses continue to think in terms of months, quarters and years.

When it comes to satisfying a board of directors, this makes sense. But operationally speaking, it’s hard to be responsive when you have to abide by a budget that was approved months ago. What happens when someone in your organization comes up with a great idea halfway through the year? Rather than looking at how you can start implementing it now with the resources you have, you have to sit on it until it’s time to start working on the next year’s budget.

As the world of finance evolves, organizations should look at what they can do to develop a rolling 12- or 13-month forecast. Doing so may help them operate more nimbly in the face of good ideas or unexpected changes.

Self-Service

When it comes to reporting, one common problem that organizations have is around access. Because license fees can be expensive, you have to choose who will have access to your chosen system. And that means only certain people are able to pull reports.

But with Workday, you don’t have this same problem. Because everyone in your organization has access to Workday, leaders can pull their own reports instead of relying on a go-between for the same information. This may make some employees nervous, but the goal of self service is to both empower employees to focus on more strategic work and to help organizations operate more efficiently and with greater flexibility.

Listen to the Full Webinar

To learn more about each of these predictions, and the rest of Deloitte’s list, we invite you to listen to the full webinar. You can find it on our website here.