Podcast reveals that CFOs can identify opportunities and risks using cloud-based technologies

Sage’s Gerhard Hartman and AWCape’s Jeff Ryan explore the benefits of using cloud-based technologies.

In the latest CFO South Africa podcast, sponsored by Sage, Sage Africa and Middle East vice president of medium business Gerhard Hartman (pictured above) and AWCape group director of business development Jeff Ryan explored how the cloud fits into CFOs’ strategies.

In a recent study into the CFO of the future, the CFO 3.0, Sage revealed that 72 percent of large businesses operate in the cloud. Seventy-seven percent of businesses use cloud-based solutions for financial management, and more than 80 percent say cloud technologies help to create more agile and cost-effective in-house finance functions.

The research also revealed that 89 percent of senior financial decision-makers say financial management technology is key to their success.

“CFOs have been changing the way they think about technology,” Gerhard said. “They want to use technology to make better, faster, more accurate decisions and to help them streamline processes, operations and their value chain.”

Gerhard explained that cloud products are making it much easier for companies to connect, to make faster decisions, to be more agile, and to make sure they stay competitive. “With the adoption of cloud technology, we’re seeing businesses evolve.”

Jeff added that the insights technology is allowing businesses to have is giving them so many more opportunities, including new markets, outsourcing non-core functions, or even venturing into something completely different as a business.

He explained that technology has delivered productivity improvements and cost savings for many businesses, which have translated into more time available for key decision-makers, so they can identify opportunities. The cost savings have also enabled CFOs to act upon these opportunities.

“Technology has also made data much easier to get hold of, more seamless across systems and more meaningful to make a difference in terms of where you would like to go as a business,” Jeff said.

He added that even a well-designed dashboard with the ability to deep dive into financial statements is leading the finance department and other areas of the business to uncover really great opportunities for them to grow.

Along with enabling CFOs to identify new opportunities, technology has also helped CFOs uncover new risks in the finance industry.

“Risks and how they can manage it better is one of the biggest areas of concern for financial leaders,” Gerhard said. “Growing uncertainty in markets and the economy highlights a very important role for risk management.”

He explained that, by having the correct analytical tools and by planning and looking at their processes, CFOs are able to identify these risks.

Jeff added that the CFO’s job has actually become a bit easier with cloud-based technologies by taking away mundane tasks to help them better lead the business, and identifying opportunities and risks.