Increasing the Value of the Finance Function
By Clinton Jones on May 29, 2014
Few would argue that people, process and technology are the three key components in a well-oiled finance function.
Companies are still able to perform well if one of the key components are less than ideal. With the right people and technology, you can get away with slightly malformed processes. Similarly, with the right processes and technology, you can get away with less-experienced personnel because the personnel is guided in ways that they would perform if they were more knowledgeable and more experienced.
If the finance function settles on mediocrity in personnel, process and technology, it is likely to be a little dysfunctional. That dysfunction manifests itself in a variety of ways. At first blush things may appear to run smoothly, but upon closer inspection you may find glaring deficiencies in controls, misallocations, rework and inaccuracies in general.
Making finance strategic
The finance function serves the dual role of being the heart rate monitor of how the business is doing and helping the business be more strategic in its thinking about how it plans and executes against those plans.
For finance to function in this second role it has to have the time to apply considered thought to historical figures and future projections.
If finance is spending more time on corrections, manual entries and re-sifting of historical data to get it closer to the truth, then there is never the time to give to the more strategic and higher-value work.
One way finance organizations can make themselves more agile and more adept at adding strategic value is by shifting low-value work downstream. This can be done through outsourcing, or shifting work to captive or hybrid shared services center functions. Hybrid scenarios typically involve both employees and an outsourced service provider.
Whichever model is chosen, by moving the lower-value work out of the core organizational finance team to specialized resources that perform the grunt work of data entry and allocations, the in-house resources gain the time needed for higher value work like analysis and scrutiny. These more highly skilled roles are generally more expensive and have more to offer than simple accounting skills.
A finance automation maturity model
The Winshuttle finance process automation self-score maturity model (Finance PASS Maturity Model) will finance organizations a way to assess their finance automation maturity.
The first version of the Winshuttle Financial modelling tool will likely be available in the third quarter of 2014 and will help you assess where you are in your finance automation journey. Additionally, the model will help old and new finance organizations determine how they can leverage Winshuttle and other technologies to move to higher-value, more strategic work that will provide more value to the business.
If you’re interested in accessing a preview of the Finance PASS Maturity Model please contact me directly at Clinton.Jones@Winshuttle.com.
Learn how the Maersk Moller Group moved a significant number of resources in their captive shared services center to higher value work through the implementation of Winshuttle technology.
About the author
Clinton Jones is a Director for Finance Solutions Management at Winshuttle where he has worked since 2009. He is internationally experienced having worked on finance technologies and business process with a particular focus on integrated business solutions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Clinton serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance for finance organizations globally. Prior to Winshuttle he served as a Technical Quality Manager at SAP and with Microsoft in their Global Foundation Services group.
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