Why finance teams must harness technology disruption for their advantage

Speaking at the Finance Indaba, Thomson Reuters' Hari Ganesh Kumar made the case for tech transformation.

Thomson Reuters, which provides answers that help professionals make confident decisions and run better businesses, have developed solutions that can help organisations use technology to their advantage. Speaking at the Finance Indaba this week, the company’s enterprise proposition lead Hari Ganesh Kumar, spoke about how organisations must turn technology to their advantage.

Importance of embracing technology
Financial management is no longer a manual process. The time has passed when financial teams could prepare weekly reports, through data. Navigating a digital economy and making rapid decisions based on real-time data is the new norm, and businesses of all sizes need to get on board if they want to thrive. If your financial team embraces technology, they embrace success.

The stages of maturity in the financial processes

  • Hindsight, it starts with manual processes and controls, and many organisations are still here.
  • Insight, automated detection measures and processes, this is what you can expect from modern technology.
  • Foresight, automated preventative measures and systems, this is where technology should take you in the future.

Hari said that companies across the world are using fintech to bring efficiency to their business, and that organisations are pressured to get more out of their finance teams as technology demands increases. To bridge the gap, companies must realise that they need to change.
He highlighted some of the benefits of technology:

“Staff reduction, staff neutralisation, staff redeployment, cost and penalty reductions are some of the benefits to embracing financial technology in the business.”

Excel withdrawal
Of the organisations that attended the breakaway session at the Finance Indaba, 44 percent still use Excel in their financial reporting. 59 percent indicated that they intend on moving away from using Excel as their primary software, in the next two years. 19 percent indicated that they weren’t sure, 17 percent had no plans on doing so at all, and lastly, 6 percent indicated that they would do so after two years have passed. These are some of the methods Hari advised that you can use to start moving away from Excel:

  • Assessing your current process and tech landscape
  • Build your desired business requirements across people, process, data, and technology
  • Conduct a gap analysis of your current state
  • Assess technology vendors against the business requirements (understand what you need an what you want to achieve)
  • Deploy the technology
  • Reassess the tech continuously (until you see value)