Finance Departments Forced to Do More With Less

While budgets are declining, to-do lists are only getting longer.

This was the case for finance departments pre-Coronavirus, and has only been exacerbated with the onset of the pandemic. Simultaneously, finance leadership is scrambling to accelerate digital adoption. From digitizing analogue processes to building truly digital capabilities, the pandemic is forcing leaders to adopt a truly digital mindset.

Technology and data are identified as two of the key issues impacting the effectiveness of finance in providing the quality of decision support needed. For many finance functions there is no single interpretation of the available data across the enterprise, making the governance process a continued challenge.

“Finance departments are increasingly required to play a central role helping to optimize business processes and finding areas for growth”.
-Paul McDonald, senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half International Inc.

Data can be of great value, but only if it is accessible.

While valuable data may exist, it’s often inaccessible given that it is stored in different parts of the company, held in different non-comparable formats, or not properly shared. To optimize decision-making, effective collaboration and distribution of valuable data are necessary.

Raw data such as customer retention rates, sales figures, and supply costs are of limited value on their own. It is only once they have been integrated with other data and transformed into information that they can guide decision-making.

Centralizing data sources across your entity can ensure that each division of your organization has access to a common source of trusted data allowing for increased productivity, optimized collaboration, and more confident decision-making.

Having a more comprehensive view of what’s going on is the necessary foundation for shifting the aim of finance from holding an organization accountable for the past to leveraging information as the basis for strategic planning towards the future.

“The share spent on technology is rising as companies try to enhance efficiency.”

Improved connectivity of datasets results in better decisions

“Well-designed and relatively simplified information/knowledge solutions bound to unlock the enterprise knowledge, to turn a downward spiral into an upward spiral.”
― Pearl Zhu

While data can help solve problems, see performance, and improve processes, according to the Harvard Business Review cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in making decisions—and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all.

When you have data silos, the free flow of information across the company is hampered as repositories of data remain within a single department’s control and are isolated from the rest of the organization. Siloed information leads to company fragmentation, which will ultimately prevent executives from seeing the big picture clearly. The more data your organization can share, the better able it is to make plans and to move forward with its goals.

Centralization allows workers to spend less time on data production, and more time analyzing the data.

“I think the more informed finance departments out there have recognised that they don’t just need to produce the financial information more efficiently,” says PwC UK’s Mark O’Sullivan. “They have to show they can actually analyse, interpret and predict rather than just produce. They’re also starting to realise that they already have a lot of the thinking, systems, processes, and controls in place for the more important strategic information relating to their key resources and relationships, such as their customers, their employees, and their supply chain.”

Centralizing data eliminates data silos by integrating all information into a single, shareable source. This minimizes the amount of time spent bringing together and comparing competing data sets and reduces the inefficiencies caused by inaccurate or incomplete data.

Bottom line, the key lies in bringing it all together.

For the c-suite, this means they’ll be well-placed to see broader trends and make enhanced decisions. Data centralization leads to more meaningful reporting, ensuring that the same data is available across the organization and increasing your ROI.

Eliminate data silos and do more with less with the tool built for finance

Datarails’ CPM solution allows employees to maintain current methods of work while simultaneously benefiting from a cloud-based planning platform that elevates the finance function tremendously.  

What sets Datarails apart from other cloud-based planning platforms is its hallmark feature- the fact that it’s Excel-based, meaning employees continue to work on their native spreadsheets. It doesn’t change the way employees currently work and requires little to no organizational culture change. Datarails is an adaptive tool that brings much needed agility and flexibility to financial management, particularly during these turbulent times.

Datarails’ innovative AI technology connects all spreadsheet data with data from any ERP, GL, CRM, or other transactional system of choice. Innovative machine-learning algorithmic technology examines and interprets your data as a human eye would, in a fraction of the time. The solution is able to take both structured and unstructured spreadsheet data (including cell values, formats, formulas and relations, macros, etc.) to create a logical, centralized database.

By accessing and leveraging financial and operational data independently regardless of technical competency, the finance team can easily support planning, analysis and reporting needs on-the-go to drive faster and more effective decisions. End-users keep using Excel while executives benefit from superior access to data and novel insights. Without imposing much procedural change on employees, finance executives can quickly and easily get behind digital technology adoption.  This translates to easy access of all organizational data, improved reporting, and real-time figures when the c-suite needs it most.

About Datarails

Datarails is an augmented intelligence FP&A solution that empowers each finance professional to independently work with data to deliver actionable, data-driven insights. Finally, count on numbers you can trust and reduce inefficiencies without having to change how you work. With Datarails, strengthen the connection between finance and operations to drive better organizational decisions.