Finance Executive Survey: Priorities, Challenges and Technologies for the Year Ahead
The C-suite is playing an increasingly large role in finance and administration solutions purchases. And for good reason: Their job responsibilities require tools for analyzing cash flow, managing corporate growth, mitigating risk and ensuring compliance, and managing liquidity.
The C-suite is also concerned with ensuring staff productivity to make up for cost pressures and tight margins. Manual paper processes make addressing these issues a tremendous challenge, resulting in a lack of visibility into invoices and payables;, significant numbers of errors in accounts payable, difficulty handling, managing and finding invoices;, and high invoice-processing costs.
The Institute of Finance & Management conducted an important survey of senior finance executives. The objectives were to:
- better understand the highest priorities and concerns of controllers and other senior finance executives (think: cash flow and visibility)
- determine their biggest accounts payable challenges (errors, costs and manual tasks)
- learn what technologies they believe will deliver the biggest bang for the buck (invoice workflow)
- discover their top priorities for improvement (again: accounts payable)
Recognizing that functional improvements require a baseline for measurement, the survey also asked whether organizations were using performance management systems (hardly) and how frequently with which organizations were reviewing reports (only monthly).
Taken together, the results suggest that manual paper processes are making it difficult for controllers to get what they need from accounts payable and other finance functions. But the tide may be turning. The C-suite clearly recognizes the problems with manual and labor-intensive processes and plan to invest in automated solutions, in addition to leveraging outsourced finance solutions.