Be practical with finance digitisation, webinar reveals

Corporate set-up and hosting have been penetrated over and over again, with cyber-attacks increasing.

Technology is one piece of the digitalisation journey, and it is important to make sure that all the pieces are visible and taken into account to move the needle on the transformation journey. This is according to Myrin Bock, product manager for CaseWare Africa, who was speaking during the CFO webinar, "Practical insights into Finance Digitisation".

CaseWare Africa was the sponsor of the webinar that provided practical insights into the challenges and lessons learnt from actively driving cloud-migration projects.

“Cloud adoption has been very reactionary. It became very prominent during lockdown and that still continues as organisations realise the needs and benefits of migrating to cloud solutions. However, it is not a tick box or an overnight exercise,” he explained.

Myrin said there are challenges and obstacles that need to be overcome during any digitisation journey.

These include considering:

  • Legacy and complex applications and infrastructure that clients are running,
  • Disparate systems that do not integrate with each other,
  • Duplication of work that companies want to eliminate with a digital transformation journey,
  • Segregation of work.

On the last point, it is important to have a holistic solution that can be scaled as the business evolves.

“To make the process more efficient, it is important to understand the need. Consider the business and finance unit’s vision four to five years into the future and then work back. It is also important to partner with the right service provider as opposed to settling for applications and software,” he added.

Myrin highlighted change management and training as some of the top reasons behind migration digitisation objectives not being fully realised.

“Sometimes senior managers make the decision in isolation, however the teams will be working with the new process or software application. The risk here is despondence from the team. That’s why buy-in from teams is important,” he said.

Michael Ndlovu, finance manager at Sakhumnotho Group Holdings, added, “It is human nature to resist change and tech is always evolving. However, when people see the benefit, then they are in a position to embrace the change.”

He added, “This also applies on a generational level, with the older generation more comfortable signing physical documents and moving to digitisation being a change for them.”

Having identified the lessons learnt, Myrin further highlighted some of the big advantages of cloud hosting. These include overhead and maintenance costs being removed and pressure testing being done on a regular basis, particularly in terms of security.

“It has become clear that the corporate set-up and hosting has been penetrated over and over again, with malware and ransomware attacks increasing. Make sure that the hosting provider you choose complies with industry standards so security is top of mind,” Myrin noted.

Deirdre de Carvalho, a director at Rand Corporate Consultants, added that Covid-19 has highlighted an unintended consequence for digitisation.

“It impacted smaller firms working on paper-based and internal servers, and left them prone to theft and ransomware. It is important to digitise paperwork and documents, so even when staff are working remotely, they can provide a seamless service and everything in the cloud is secure,” she said.