Global finance teams falling behind in digital transformation

Provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, insightsoftware, has launched its annual Finance Team Trends Report. The report found that while two-thirds of finance teams are deep into their digital transformation journeys, accelerated by the pandemic, the final leg of their digitisation journey is proving to be more challenging than expected because of expanding responsibilities.

The independent survey, conducted with Hanover Research, offers insights into how finance teams are evolving and preparing for the future and highlights the biggest process challenges that finance teams face in achieving digital maturity. Data was gathered from nearly 500 respondents across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

With 63 per cent of finance teams now reporting a ‘high level’ of digitisation, they have become significantly more efficient in their day-to-day tasks. But even with all the progress, the report found finance teams are still lagging in three critical areas needed to succeed: rapid support for strategic decision making, scalability of processes, and self-service of data.

Strategic decision making

Finance teams’ top three responsibilities remain consistent with 2021 findings – financial planning and analysis was the number one area noted by respondents (64%), followed by financial modelling (57%), and budget and forecasting (47%). Several other tasks, however, are becoming more common, reflecting a gradual shift in priorities. The most prominently growing responsibility is the rise of strategic decision making at 41 per cent (up from 29% in 2021) and internal risk management at 37 per cent (up from 30% in 2021).

Scalability of processes

Despite global market headwinds, three-quarters of decision-makers (72%) expect to grow their teams. As leaders continue to shore up team capabilities, there is still room for growth when it comes to digitisation and automation. According to the report, finance teams feel they are still held back in their jobs due to manual processes and inefficient tooling (50%), a lack of resources (50%) or the ability to quickly access required data (33%).

Lee An Schommer, Chief Product Officer at insightsoftware said, “recent global crises and disruptions have exposed the fragility of today’s market and permanently changed finance as we know it. Along with digitisation, we’re also seeing a shift in finance teams’ roles as organisations strive to prepare for the next big event. The Finance Team Trends Report illustrates that, while progress has been made, finance teams are still lagging in key areas of digitisation. We recognise the final stretch in digitisation is often the most difficult to navigate, but it’s also the most critical. Completing the journey will require further fine-tuned data control, streamlined processes, and intuitive systems to bridge the gap.”

Self-service data

Finance team leaders recognise the benefits of automation and digitisation and have introduced new tools into daily processes, from budgeting and planning to financial reporting. IT and finance team collaboration are key as new tools continue to be introduced, and three-quarters of finance departments (77%) often interact with IT for financial reporting. But while they are largely satisfied (88%) with their interactions with IT, 80 per cent of finance teams also feel over-reliant on IT. The result is bottlenecks in their reporting responsibilities as well as their ability to provide real-time insights and analysis.

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