Like any genre of business, financial organizations certainly have their own slew of challenges. From facing the prospect of new governance rules and increasing risk management concerns, to facing new regulatory and accounting rules and having to uphold reputations under immense pressure from investors, regulators and stakeholders, financial institutions have their work cut out for them.
According to global financial institution Ernst & Young, these roadblocks are being further compounded by a number of factors, including lingering effects of the recent recession and developments in climate change. But, whether there’s an economic slump and obvious change in weather patterns or not, financial organizations require next-generation techniques for overcoming these challenges.
Key obstacles faced by today’s financial organizations were highlighted in a recent report by NetSuite (News - Alert), a provider of cloud-based business suites built for financial management, in conjunction with the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The study, entitled “Rising to the Challenge – Productivity in Accounting and Finance Organizations,” was conducted amongst 1,726 IMA members representing finance organizations across all industries, who shared their insights into what is truly bogging them down.
Among the challenges indicated by those surveyed were streamlining processes and enhancing productivity in order to decrease costs; achieving gains in productivity through business process improvement efforts; improving strategic activities, like planning, budgeting, forecasting, cost and profitability analysis, and delivering performance scorecards and reporting. Lastly, respondents cited the ability to efficiently run a global business by implementing and upgrading information systems and connecting the finance team with the front office was also a primary concern.
So, what tactics are these financial professionals using to strategically tackle these pressing challenges? In order to achieve productivity gains, and enhance their responsiveness to customers, respondents indicated they are doing so through enhanced technology and automation, as well as the integration of the various information systems typically present within an organization.
One tried-and-true method of achieving these goals has been to implement a cloud-based business suite like that of NetSuite or Aplicor, a company well known for its Cloud Suite 7 solution, which combines CRM and financials into one, simple dashboard. By unifying CRM functionality with in-depth financial and supply chain data, SMBs gain a central online dashboard where users can track operations, from lead to order to cash, in a timely and accurate manner. And, since it operates in the cloud, the solution is available for all employees to access, regardless of location.
Benefits of Cloud Suite 7 for financial organizations, according to Aplicor, include, but aren’t limited to, the ability to merge data straight from purchase orders to shipping orders, inventory reports, and financial statements; automate invoicing and payment processes to decrease bottlenecks; create a transparent payment process; and manage multiple bank accounts and currencies.
"We are pleased to co-sponsor this groundbreaking research, the results of which should help finance teams assess their greatest challenges and compare their organizations' performance with those of their peers," said Ron Gill, chief financial officer of NetSuite, in a press release. "As these results indicate, the issues of streamlining processes and improving productivity are critical to an organization's ability to overcome many of these identified obstacles. Accounting organizations should be able to greatly benefit from the insights offered in this report and we are pleased to have assisted IMA in producing it."
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin