CFOs play a vital role in shaping financial strategies, ensuring regulatory compliance, and driving organisational growth. As summer arrives, it is a good time for CFOs to harness the power of automation to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. In this blog, we delve into the key responsibilities of CFOs during their quieter summer months and explore how automation can help in transforming their roles.
Financial Reporting and Analysis
August is a crucial time for to review and analyse financial reports, assessing the business’s performance in the first half of the year. It is a time to scrutinise financial statements, identify trends, and extract meaningful insights to inform strategic decision-making. Automation tools, such as financial analytics software, speed up data analysis and generate real-time reports, allowing for quicker and more accurate decision-making. With a focus on purchasing and accounts payable, running real-time reports on supplier volume, performance and any problem areas will help in identifying best performing suppliers, not just in terms of price, but GRNI, delivery discrepancies and more and will enable streamlined invoice processing for the coming year.
Budgeting and Forecasting
The summer kicks off the beginning of the budgeting and forecasting cycle for the upcoming fiscal year. CFOs collaborate with their teams to develop comprehensive budgets, considering market trends, economic forecasts, and company objectives. Automation can play a pivotal role in streamlining this process by automating data collection, analysis, and modelling. This allows CFOs to generate accurate and dynamic financial forecasts, optimising resource allocation and driving financial performance. Using an AP Automation tool to reviewing invoice volumes over the year will highlight pinch points in the cashflow and help with forecasting spend.
CFOs operate in a heavily regulated environment, and ensuring compliance is a top priority. Using the quieter time through the summer to dedicate time to review and refine internal controls, ensuring they align with evolving regulatory requirements. Automation solutions assist CFOs in monitoring and managing compliance risks by automating data collection, reconciliations, and reporting. These tools provide real-time insights, reducing the likelihood of errors and facilitating proactive compliance management. It is a good time for a master vendor data review, ensuring all suppliers details are up to date and that the correct records are held on file. Reviewing the organisation’s business rules and running an internal audit on authorisation hierarchy is good exercise, looking at approval levels and with a review on delegated authority approvals. Embedding these in an AP automation solution saves time and resources.
Strategic Planning and Risk Management
The summer presents an opportunity for CFOs to engage in strategic planning and risk management. They can use the time to assess market dynamics, evaluate competitive landscapes, and explore potential growth opportunities. Automation aids CFOs in scenario modelling, enabling them to simulate various outcomes and assess associated risks. By leveraging automation tools for risk assessment, CFOs can identify and mitigate potential risks more efficiently, safeguarding the organization’s financial well-being.
Driving Efficiency through Automation
CFOs are increasingly recognising the transformative effect of automation in driving efficiency. They leverage automation solutions such as AP automation, to streamline repetitive finance tasks, including data capture, invoice processing, financial reconciliation, archiving, storage and retrieval. By automating these routine processes, CFOs can redirect their focus to higher-value activities such as strategic decision-making, financial analysis, and fostering innovation.
Talent Development and Upskilling
As automation continues to reshape the finance landscape, the summer months provide a good opportunity to prioritise talent development and upskilling within their teams. CFOs should consider encouraging their team to embrace emerging technologies, providing training and resources. By empowering their teams with automation knowledge, CFOs create a workforce that can leverage automation tools effectively, driving productivity and innovation within the finance function.
For CFOs, the Summer is far from a time of rest as they lay the groundwork for future success. With the help of automation, CFOs can optimise financial reporting, streamline compliance, enhance strategic planning, and drive operational efficiency. By harnessing the power of automation, they can be armed and ready to lead their organisations through challenges and find new opportunities in the dynamic and ever-evolving financial landscape. They may even find some time to spend at the beach too!