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What’s at the top of your CFO’s Christmas list?

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What’s at the top of your CFO’s Christmas list? 1

Since it’s that time of year again, you might be thinking about what to get for the special someone in your life: your CFO. Though this is the person you work alongside every day, you may be at a loss as to what they’re hoping for under the tree this year. 

While their peers might disagree on the impact of the CFO outside of the traditional finance function, we all know that more and more is being piled onto their plates. This is mostly down to digitisation.  

The majority of business strategies are primarily focused on digitising all areas of business and the responsibility for this is increasingly falling on the CFO’s shoulders. We can track this increased responsibility through the 2018 CFO survey by McKinsey – it showed us the number of functional areas reporting into the CFO has increased from 4.5 (2016) to 6.2 (2018). According to the same study, your CFO is now twice as likely to be involved in the digitisation process.

With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to give you a peek at their Christmas list, and the kind of value it can bring to your business. Every budget is limited, so we’ve kept it short – which is more than we can say for any other Christmas lists you might be handed this year! 

“The financial director’s role has expanded greatly over the last decade. It is essential today to make the best use of the data, to know how to identify the additional points of growth, productivity and cost control. The Financial Director has become a true partner of general management in the definition and implementation of growth strategies.” 

– Maryse Lecutier, PwC Partner, Chief Financial Officers – Priorities in 2018

1. Performance Management

Still the most important thing on CFO’s lists, this is all about visibility. The ability to set targets and aim for them, to have an eye on which initiatives are working and which are not, all in real-time, is crucial for a happy CFO. 

Ask your CFO where they’ve created the most value and they will likely say two areas: strategic leadership and performance management. Though, according to Mckinsey, many still see CFO’s adding the most value to traditional finance tasks. As automation grows it’s likely that these time consuming and repetitive tasks will be absorbed by technological solutions.

As the CEO’s right-hand, performance management of the finance department directly affects your CFO’s ability to support the strategic decision making of the entire organisation. 

In order to make these decisions, your CFO needs data. Whilst some are lucky enough to be equipped, many do not have that luxury. In fact according to a PwC FR 2018 survey 89% of CFO’s wanted more data visualisation and better production methods to improve their reporting.

As a CEO or MD, you might be sceptical whether performance management is having an impact on your sales process. But as you can see, there are a myriad of ways it can enhance your CFO’s job. 

2. Process optimisation

This one is crucial for growth and it’s all about control. You can help your CFO standardise and automate the AP function in your business, freeing them up and taking their team away from low value-added tasks. 

In that PwC survey, 52% of CFOs thought it was important to improve the quality of process optimisation – with 67% wanting to reduce production times for financial information and 21% intending to fully or partially robotise their financial processes.

Process optimisation goes further, as the ability to provide deeper analysis for your finance team will help reduce the cost of the overall finance function.

“Process optimisation is not just a priority, it is a question of basic standards! It is about continuously questioning and improving our current processes. New technologies make this much easier and mean we can be much more efficient when it comes to tasks with a low added value.”

– Nathalie Pivet EDF, Chief Financial Officers – Priorities in 2018

3. Risk Management 

The bigger the company grows, the more risks your CFO might perceive. All sorts of different and new activities in a growing company can call into question the security of financial flows, as well as risks like sabotage, invoice fraud, damage to the image and cybercrime. We know that, alongside the many benefits of digitization, there are new risks that can arise in this increasingly connected world. 

  • 79% of Chief Financial Officers are concerned about fraud risks.
  • 76% of Chief Financial Officers are concerned about cyber-criminality risks.

For total security and essentially, compliance, you need to deliver strengthened cost control and invest in technological innovations, like AP and sales order automation. With these innovations your back office can function correctly, speed and accuracy increases and costs (and risks) go down. 

How CloudTrade can help

We’ve seen that the top priorities of mid-market CFOs include: performance management, process optimisation and risk management, they want control, compliance and visibility – all of which can be addressed with the technology we have developed at CloudTrade. 

Control

Give your CFO 360° control of their processes, before dodgy documents can enter into your vital FMS or ERP system by validating critical pieces of information (e.g. account numbers). Enhance their AP team’s effectiveness with end-to-end true automation from CloudTrade. 

CloudTrade offer a rules-based product, different from template or neural network methods, that other businesses champion. By acting as a gatekeeper for your business systems, we eliminate errors and diminish certain types of fraudulent activity.

The result: exceptional confidence in your business processes and your ability to combat fraud in our modern hyper-connected world. 

Compliance

CloudTrade is configurable to your specific codes and processes. Our automated process extracts and comprehends all the information held in every e-invoice and e-order that enters your business. 

The flexibility of our solution means that the automation process changes with your business. We validate the document information against your business’ codes, automatically rejecting any invoice that is not “to code”. 

This approach effectively eliminates the payment for invalid invoices, that aren’t within code, and will give your CFO genuine peace of mind.

Visibility

Our solution extracts from the data layer within the document, not simply scanning and taking a good guess (like neural network powered OCR alternatives). With 100% of the data extracted from your digital data documents (.pdf, .xls, .doc) you don’t need any manual intervention or correction by a clerk. Even better, once your documents are mapped by CloudTrade, the process is touch-less. 

We don’t disguise our product’s AI approach; data extraction isn’t magic. We deploy a cloud-based backwards tracking algorithm that applies a logical approach to data extraction – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

This results in faster downstream process completion, like reporting, as you now have perfect information-accuracy that you can safely and easily put straight into your FMS.

CloudTrade’s transparent data extraction tool, frees the CFO and their AP team to walk away from low-value, error prone tasks to higher-value business support ones.

Okay, so it wasn’t a strict Christmas list. Not sure how you box up “risk management” and stick that under that tree anyway!  We hope that you’ve learnt what your CFO would like to help make their life easier and exactly how CloudTrade can deliver these to your business. I think you will agree that there’s a huge requirement for modernisation in most business, and likely yours as well. 

While you can’t wrap this gift and put it under the tree, you can contact CloudTrade to book a demo and see how we can strengthen your CFO’s processes and increase the productivity of their team.