Opportunities Abound: The Age of Digital Finance is a Boon for the Middle Market
Jul 01, 2019 | By John Siegel
Advances in technology are no longer reserved for big businesses with deep pockets.
In recent years, the proliferation of business solutions designed for middle-market companies has led to a boon in employee productivity and company-wide efficiency, reducing the complexity of work conducted by finance and accounting departments. This rise in digital finance allows management to reallocate their staff’s time and allows accounting teams to focus on more strategic tasks they often didn’t have the bandwidth for previously.
This new time for creative thinking and analyzing could prove to be valuable to your company.
So how is technology going to change the finance department? Here are three ways it’s going to make your business different:
- Fewer time-consuming, highly-tedious responsibilities result in more time. What could your staff do with that?
- Real-time information could bring about real-time change and real-time solutions. Really.
- The staff is going to need skills beyond those of traditional accounting departments. Use that to your advantage.
Working Faster, Getting Smarter
It’s rare that doing something faster produces smarter results, but programs that provide automation to financial processes are freeing up the finance departments for more creative thinking. This means your finance department’s role in the business’s operation could change. Wouldn’t you rather have your finance team analyzing KPIs to improve operations than spending days reconciling financial statements? Digital finance technologies can get your finance department offering insightful information to management with the same number of hours in the day that they already have.
Know More — Now
Finance departments in the middle market operate on schedules because there is too much information and data for them to process regularly. But what if weekly, monthly, or yearly data-processing could be accessed instantly? New technologies could make periodic reporting a thing of the past.
If both actuals and forecasts can be produced on-demand for a business, traditional financial cycles become less relevant. It will allow finance departments to provide the business’ decision makers with more frequent performance information that can be processed and acted upon in real-time, making the company more efficient and — hopefully — profitable.
The Evolution of the Number Crunchers
You may need more than just people who are good at math in your finance department thanks to technology. Business analysts, data scientists, and even storytellers will be joining the ranks in the department with technology and automation taking on more of the grind of a finance department.
If you’re not sure exactly what your finance department will need because the implementation process is still so new, making a new hire count means looking for some key skills. The ideal employees should be flexible (and, of course, open to working with new technologies). The shift toward the analyzation of financial information and KPIs means your team will need superior collaborators who can go outside of their department to provide data and information to help others in the business make decisions. New hires should also understand customer service and how their role in finance fits into the business’ customer service goals.
Oh, and they should still be good at math. They should be able to go beyond presenting the numbers and explain how you can utilize the information to drive your business forward.
The Future is Bright
With the right solutions available, it's up to forward-thinking executives to investigate which software has the greatest potential to impact their teams. Quantifying how the technology can affect more than just the team using it might take time, but investing in improving communication and overall employee efficiency will inevitably pay off as the company grows.