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One of the most common questions organizations ask when they want to embark on a financial transformation program is simply “Where do I begin?.” They understand “why” they need to do it, but struggle with the “how.”

First off, there are some practical requirements to consider. Have you received board level buy in? Identified internal resource requirements or identified external resource requirements such as your project team, your project lead or maybe your communication strategy?

These are vital considerations. They’re also very important to get right from the outset because they will help tremendously as your program rolls out. But more importantly – and this is often the most difficult part – you also need to identify best practices and develop a list of key requirements and objectives that you want to fulfill.

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As we’ve been discussing recently, the primary objective of any financial transformation project is to achieve process improvements that produce higher quality financial information with fewer resources.  

As the chart below shows, top performing businesses who have achieved transformation tend to spend over 50% less on processes. They also spend far less time closing and consolidating than average performing businesses that have failed to reform and modernize their approach.

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That’s the theory, but for the majority of organizations there are still big questions over what they’re really trying to achieve with a financial transformation.

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blog 2The vast majority of businesses know that they can achieve great things by transforming their financial management to improve processes. The big problem is finding the time. Yet it can be done, and with notably successful results.

This new eBook on financial transformation shows all key steps and questions you need to consider before you get started.  We also showcase the work of one company in particular – AstraZeneca – to show what’s possible with the right planning and the right application of technology. 

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Blog PicThe concept of financial transformation is nothing new.  The idea is simple: you improve processes so you can deliver cost savings while at the same time provide a higher quality and higher value service to the business. In other words, it’s the age-old requirement of doing more with less.

So if everyone has known this for so long, why is it that so many transformation projects still fail to improve either processes or quality in the way they intend?

According to research featured in CFO.com, the vast majority of companies say they have been engaged in a major finance redesign initiative. However, only around a quarter say they’ve been able to reap the qualitative and quantitative benefits they outlined in their business case. They say they’ve also not been able to maintain a majority of the cost savings for two years post-implementation.

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Closing Outside The ERPOne of the most common things we hear when speaking to companies about improving their financial close process through automation is “But I already have an ERP in place.” It’s true that an ERP goes a long way towards helping manage some of the closing processes, however, there is still a great deal that is taken outside of the ERP and managed manually.

The majority of our customers are large, mature businesses that also have ERPs, including Oracle, SAP, Microsoft and NetSuite among others, but have identified severe challenges outside their ERP in relation to their Record-to-Report process.

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Compliance Controls SquareAccording to an article in the Wall Street Journal and a survey from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), companies seem to have a looser grip on their internal controls than they realise.

With recent high-profile stories like Hertz and Toshiba, it is clear that organisations need to increase the use of technology to automate all processes including reconciliation and certification, embed compliance, and ensure authorization and proper signoffs with appropriate documentation are all digitally calculated, directed, and captured.

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calculate2Are traditional methods of calculating ROI holding you back from adopting new technology? We are glad to see it isn’t just us at Trintech who have realized that more often than not, the way you calculate your ROI may be inhibiting your company’s potential for future growth. This past year, SSON.com has expressed its view on how organizations are consistently misled on adopting new technology due to their “traditional ROI calculations.”

This article, which can be seen in full at the end of this blog, identifies that the struggle with identifying the business value of a technology investment lies in the issue that value-added outputs are increasingly intangible in today’s organizations. Although these intangible benefits may be hard to pinpoint, they are in most cases, more valuable than the hard benefits.

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Key R2R Trends For 2016This blog is part of a series of Key R2R Trends for 2016, the full list can be seen by downloading the Insights piece here.

Modern companies are complex in their size and make up and often have very disparate systems across multiple sites and geographies. The increased prevalence of Shared Service Centers (SSC) and, more recently, Global Business Services (GBS) have driven companies to improve their standardization and harmonization.

“When considering the automation and unification of critical financial processes, such as account reconciliations, compliance and Financial Close, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. These activities are highly dependent on each other and, when unified, create new insights and return on investment (ROI) savings.” – Gartner

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Key R2R Trends For 2016This blog is part of a series of Key R2R Trends for 2016, the full list can be seen by downloading the Insights piece here.

Disruptive technology is still seen as the number one method that finance professionals identify to make finance processes more effective. Experts agree that this technology is continuing to evolve through Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud (SMAC), to provide intelligence when and where it’s needed and improve collaboration across teams and geographies.

“The next wave of IT can be found in Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud (SMAC). SMAC technologies are redefining enterprise IT and will remain the driving force of enterprise level IT for decades to come. The combined technologies erase geographical barriers, cut costs, and enhance the operations of any given business. SMAC technologies are transforming companies today, while simultaneously preparing them for the business challenges of tomorrow.” – Capgemini

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Key R2R Trends For 2016This blog is part of a series of Key R2R Trends for 2016, the full list can be seen by downloading the Insights piece here.

Following on from our previous blog, around the perceived dangers of robotic process automation, it’s not the robots that are keeping CFO’s up at night, it’s how to attract and retain talented people.

Attracting millennials’ means understanding and preparing for their expectations. Not only are they highly ambitious, they also expect to work with purpose built technology that dispenses with repetitive manual work.  Therefore automation, which continues to be critical for improving the quality of work, can help attract and retain your best talent.

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