There’s a wave of change headed for the world of business finance. And like any industry that’s heading into a storm of disruption, some of those changes may bring some internal tensions, uneasiness and discomfort to the operations.
In a report titled “Crunch Time V, Finance 2025,” Deloitte offers a series of predictions about how finance teams will be impacted by technologies that are disrupting all parts of business operations, from supply chains to shipping to sales.
While Deloitte predicts that, eventually, the same technologies will make Finance operations “better, faster and probably less expensive,” it also notes that not one organization has figured it all out yet. Pilot operations are allowing finance teams to experiment with new technologies. The roadmaps to the future are still being drawn.
That’s good news – because it means there’s still time for companies to get ahead of the trend before they start chasing their competitors in an effort to catch-up.
At Planful, we agree that technology will enhance finance operations to make them more efficient and help them take on a greater role in business decisions. That’s why we’ve focused our efforts on developing products that actually give finance teams the ability to take their financial data to the next level – a trend that Deloitte agrees is on the horizon.
The Deloitte report offers a number of takeaways, alongside its predictions, to better understand the current environment and where it’s headed. A couple of the predictions really spoke to us and our role in this technology disruption.
Next-Generation Finance Cycles
Deloitte predicts that periodic reporting – such as quarterly financial reports – will become a thing of the past. We couldn’t agree more that the goal for all finance teams should be to get to a state of real-time forecasting, reporting, and analysis. The journey to this dream end-state requires a strategic vision, practice, and over time optimization of the people, process, and technology that drive these activities. For example, a best practice is to start by implementing a rolling forecast process as a phase one, and then over time optimizing that process so you that you begin performing it weekly, then daily, and then ultimately in real time.
The ability to provide periodic, out-of-cycle performance information will prove valuable for decision-makers looking to adjust strategies on-the-fly or reallocate resources to improve financial performance. As a result, finance teams that allow the technology to do the data collection and number crunching for them will have more time to focus on discovering new insights that will impact business decisions.
Self-Service Becomes the Norm
Deloitte acknowledges that self-service finance will make traditional finance teams uneasy, but the reality is that there are plenty of business people who don’t need hand-holding when it comes to an understanding of basic finance, running budget queries or processing specific reports. And as tasks like that become more automated, the system becomes smart enough with role-based security to learn who needs which reports and when, without the need for a human’s query. Over time, Deloitte also expects the technology to replace rows and columns of numbers with visually rich data that’s more intuitive and easier to use. For example, with either self-service dashboards to reduce the reporting burden or interfaces designed specifically for budget owners.
The Deloitte report also features some interesting insights into the larger role of finance, the changing skillsets of the finance workforce and the importance of cleaning up and integrating historical data to improve the analysis side of the operation.
As Deloitte says – “It’s crunch time,” meaning it’s time to look at technologies to get you to be where finance teams will be in 2025. To get make sure you financial proccess match with your technologies download our eBook for The Complete Guide to Modernizing Your Financial Processes.