By Drew Hofler, Senior Director, Solutions Marketing at Ariba, an SAP Company
To compete in a global economy, organizations must work efficiently, maintain financial visibility and control, and use information wisely to seize opportunities and create value. These are all areas where finance operations can have a positive impact and as a result, the role of finance operations is evolving from purely tactical to one that contributes more strategic value.
In fact, a recent CFO Research report indicates that companies have placed a high priority on improving finance operations (68%), but many finance executives believe it should be even higher (79%). What will it take for these companies to build high-performing finance functions? That’s what I’ll touch on in this blog.
Step back and evaluate needs
Many companies have invested a lot of money in disparate point solutions for a particular piece of the finance operations process. For example, they may have separate solutions for managing cash, processing payments and receivables, and procuring goods.
When your team is in the trenches working with these solutions, the processes seem distinct and discreet. But if you step back and view them holistically, you’ll see they’re not. It causes a lot of manual work for your finance team to connect the pieces together.
Not that your team isn’t up for the challenge. In the same study I referenced above, 87% of senior finance executives agreed that their finance staff have the knowledge and expertise they need to succeed. One senior vice president praises his team for its “can-do attitude and excellent work ethic.” Another commends the “strong technical know-how and hardworking, capable employees” in finance operations.
Provide strong teams with effective tools
Despite the strength of your finance operations team, you can’t take full advantage of their them if they’re overwhelmed by a rising tide of tactical responsibilities. The report indicates that more than half of the respondents (57%) say the finance operations staff is often overwhelmed by the demands placed upon them. As one manager put it, finance is “unable to meet deadlines due to overload.”
If companies would take the investment they’ve made in their people, and various point solutions, and enable them to work together on a single platform, then finance operations would have the automation tools they need to meet tactical responsibilities while adding more strategic value.
Enable a game-changing technology model
Solutions from SAP and Ariba, an SAP company, establish a game-changing technology model that integrates functionality while offering essential deployment flexibility. The Ariba Network and SAP solutions enable finance operations to connect linked processes more easily, collaborate with business partners and vendors more efficiently, and leverage business insights more effectively to contribute strategic value to the business.
We have two resources to help you explore how the Ariba Network and solutions from SAP can help you accomplish these objectives – an overview video and an e-book. Each explains the solutions that can help you address the following key areas of focus for finance operations teams:
- Business network: Connects trading partners on a cloud-based platform for business-to-business commerce
- Invoice management: Automates the most time-intensive manual processes with on-premise software, cloud-based solutions, or hybrid deployment options
- Receivables management: Enables automated, integrated, and collaborative processes for receivables management using SAP software and mobile apps
- Dynamic discounting and working capital management: Improves days payable outstanding and enables significant cash returns through increased high-yield, low-risk, early-payment discounts
- Payment automation: Enables an end-to-end payment solution that helps to increase the certainty, simplicity, and security of B2B payments
- Shared services: Support efficient and scalable finance operations through automation, smooth execution across departments and functional processes, and a shared-service delivery environment
Transform the role of finance operations
By enabling automated, repeatable, and consistent processing of core financial transactions across various locations, the Ariba Network and SAP solutions help you to:
- Reduce the cost of finance operations
- Increase compliance and capture savings
- Improve efficiency and productivity
- Simplify collaboration
- Optimize cash flow and return on short-term cash
- Speed time to value through rapid deployment
Learn more about the solutions that can help
The bottom line is this. The role of finance operations is evolving beyond tactical responsibilities to include a more strategic focus. To enable this transformation, financial executives must be able to easily connect and optimize financial processes in an integrated and efficient manner. To explore how the Ariba Network and solutions from SAP can help you improve finance operations, read our e-book and overview video today.