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The Financial Transformation Maze – Developing A Roadmap To Help CFOs

Posted by Trevor Lovegrove on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 @ 09:11 AM

By 2020, corporate finance professionals are going to have some pretty big challenges on their hands. Compliance requirements are changing, and the inherent limitations of existing legacy finance and ERP systems are going to be at threat.

There’s a maze of complexity that’s becoming ever harder to navigate, but your competitors are finding smart ways to get through it.

And that’s a problem for CFOs who need to get up to speed on new-generation systems and best practices for business transformation. Doing nothing isn’t an option. You need to start moving – and fast.

The financial transformation maze – developing a map to help CFOs

1-CFOCommon challenges for CFOs

There are a couple of main challenges I see CFOs having to get their heads around in the next couple of years:

  • It takes too long to reconcile, analyze and report on financial data.
  • The accuracy and consolidation of financial data difficult and time-consuming to achieve.

 

In other words,

  • You’re grinding your gears just to pull together the basic financial data needed for month-end & year-end close processes.
  • You’re wasting time reconciling reports because of conflicting data sets.
  • You’re stuck when you need quick ad-hoc and agile reporting to support operational decision-making.
  • Your current data infrastructure makes it almost impossible to predict business performance.

 None of this is satisfactory. And that’s not the end of it.

2-compliance

Compliance and regulatory changes

On top of the challenges of getting timely, accurate data, you have to think about looming compliance changes, such as:

  • Revenue Recognition Changes (ASC 606 and IFRS 15) 
  • Lease Accounting Changes (ASC 842 & IFRS 16) 
  • Financial Instruments Impairments & Disclosures (IFRS 9) 

 

While you wrestle with all this, you have to keep your business imperative in mind: to provide the strategic and tactical thinking that supports growth while keeping your competitors from edging you out.

Before you give up in desperation, don’t lose sight of what financial transformation can help you achieve: better client engagement, increased service profitability and lower costs, and streamlined processes.

These are things all ambitious CFOs want to deliver for their organizations. But you need a plan.

3-action-plan

Developing a plan of action for financial transformation

Getting out of this maze of transformation isn’t quick or easy – but the map is at least simple in construction.

Here are my suggested steps:

 

  1. Think about your starting point – take stock of your current capabilities. What are the pain points holding you back?
  2. Plot the roadmap – work out which platform or solution can help you make progress, and assess the funding needed.
  3. Start moving – proceed to implementation now. It can take 2–3 years for a financial transformation plan to march to completion.
  4. Monitor, manage and adjust course continually - A well-planned implementation should yield incremental benefits throughout the process.

Download Bramasol's newest eBook to learn more.

4-plot

How to plot the roadmap

You’ve already been feeling the pain of not having accurate and timely data. Now you want to draw up your plans to sort it out. What to do?

Good news: there’s a growing set of tech solutions that will help you keep on top of regulatory requirements while also cracking the chronic pains of dealing with inconsistent data.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Real-time and predictive analytics – engage with your customers and optimize cashflows.
  • Combined core ERP and finance systems – use a modular approach to provide best-of-breed capabilities in multiple streams.
  • In-memory consolidation of data and transactions – dump the islands of disparate data and make month-end and year-end closing easier.
  • ‘Single version of the truth’ – end the era of letting opinions overrule data. Get data that everyone can agree on to help you speed up and improve the way tactics are decided.
  • Intuitive user interface – access your data through unified systems (including mobile) that are built to support regular reporting but that also cater for ongoing management and ad-hoc decision-making.
  • Cloud-based implementation – reduce time-to-operation, keep costs down and scale easily.

You could spend a long time researching financial transformation solutions and tie yourself up in knots working out what’s right for your organization - or you can work with a partner that knows the landscape.


Many of those solutions tackle some of the above issues to a greater or lesser extent. But do you and your staff really have the time to research multiple pieces to the puzzle and to assembly them for your specific needs? So, what’s right for you?

S/4HANA – a trusted route through the financial transformation maze

At Bramasol, we collaborate with busy CFOs at companies with revenues in nine figures (hundreds of millions) or above.

We’ve found that they want a reliable partner that looks to simplify processes and supports them throughout the financial maze described above. We give our clients simple real-time and embedded analytics, all built on the cloud and with intuitive interfaces that support the modern mobile user.

This is where the Digital Core embodied by S/4HANA comes in – it addresses all of the above needs and more besides. And we think it’s the best roadmap available for today’s forward-thinking CFO.

Many clients have trusted us to help them overcome their financial transformation challenges.

Download Bramasol's newest eBook to learn more.

 

New eBook: S/4HANA is the Future: Understanding Why and How to Get There Download Now

 

 

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Topics: CFO, financial transformation, s4/hana cloud, Financial Innovation, S4HANA

Data Drives Everything: Do you know where your data is and how to use it?

Posted by David Fellers on Wed, May 16, 2018 @ 04:33 AM

For the past forty years, companies have been building all their financial and business decisions around information contained in traditional data structures. Virtually all financial systems, no matter who has designed them, have been built around relational databases.  This brings the same set of issues and challenges to every single system.

The primary limiting factor with every relational database is a relatively finite limit as to how much data it can contain without compromising performance.  In most companies, these finite relational database limits have already been outstripped by the flood of new data that is constantly being created.  In response, virtually all companies have resorted to segmentation of their information into different standalone databases for faster manipulation and management. 

For example, the General Ledger is often separated from sub-ledgers and other critical functions such as profitability analysis, revenue recognition and management reporting are relegated to standalone programs and dedicated servers.

DataSilos

Although the goal of segmentation is to achieve faster performance from each database, every time a function or data set is handled separately, informational gaps are created. This sets in motion a myriad of problems from different understandings of what is supposedly the same information based on where and how the data is stored.  The result is a need for constant reconciliation of data drawn from different databases and the imposition of rigid “data cleansing” processes before any decisions can be made.

Of course, these interim steps to cleanse and validate the data are cumbersome, time consuming and a big drain on productivity.  Managers can sometimes spend much more time debating the accuracy of each other’s data than they actually spend on making decisions.

In recent years, thought leaders have been grappling with the above issues in an effort to find effective ways of unifying these separate data repositories with the core processing of transactions.  Overall goals have been to increase accuracy, efficiency and performance by eliminating the need to massage, analyze, reconcile and move data before acting on it, while at the same time accelerating transaction speed.  Steady improvements in chip performance, memory speeds and in-memory software architectures have now made those goals achievable.

By leveraging the in-memory data and processing capabilities of the SAP S/4HANA architecture and S/4HANA Cloud deployment scenarios, CFOs can seamlessly unify their information landscape to remove the gaps and ease the pain-points arising from the artificial segmentation of information.

Instead of always grappling with reassembling disparate pieces of the picture this approach enables CFOs and staff throughout the company to see a holistic real-time view that encompasses all operational data sets and analysis capabilities within a single unified architecture.

In addition to improving both the access to and the ability to manipulate information, S/4HANA also dramatically improves real-time analytics performance because nothing must be moved, massaged or reconciled before the analysis.

With S/4 HANA you now have access to all the data in real time. So how does this change the paradigm for how we approach data? In the past we struggled to get data. You had to abstract it, put it into files and then use what you had. I know that as a user of data we had to think long and hard about what data we needed to answer specific questions.

The heart of this new unified approach is the Universal Journal, which now enables the long-sought after "Single-Source-of-Truth" for decision making. It embodies the concept that all the data is unified within an unsegmented database so that all processes and people see the same set of information in real time. 

This is possible because S/4HANA offers three transformative innovations:

  1. Enables a 7 to 10 times compression of data to greatly shrink the data footprint
  2. Takes the data off disk and puts it into main memory so it’s immediately available
  3. Makes real-time information available to front-line users via flexible S/4HANA deployment scenarios and personalized User Interface technologies

Leveraging S/4HANA has enabled a complete re-imagining of the whole financial architecture and structure of applications so that everything can be driven in real time from the single SAP Intelligent Digital Core.

SAPIntelligentDigitalCore

Once everyone is working with the same information and operating in sync with each other, the single-source-of-truth also begins to inform high-level strategies and long-term planning processes.   Instead of constantly struggling to understand where you are, the whole team can turn their focus and energies toward getting where you want to be.

Now that we have instant access to raw transaction level data, and are constantly adding more data with technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning, companies need partners, such as Bramasol, who are experts in deploying solutions with the agility and scalability to handle escalating data and transaction processing requirements.

Bramasol is a co-innovation leader in the implementation of the SAP S/4HANA (On-Premise and Cloud) to help customers achieve high-performance results with in-memory capabilities and extensible Digital Core. 

Our capabilities include leveraging S/4HANA technology in purpose-built offerings such as our Rapid RevRecReady Compliance Solution and Rapid Leasing Compliance Solution as well as helping our customers incorporate S/4HANA benefits into their on-going Finance Innovation initiatives.

Click here to request a demo of S/$HANA Cloud and get expert answers to your specific needs.

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Topics: data integration, s4/hana cloud

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