8th April, 2016
There’s no crystal ball in business. But if the rise in mobile and cloud usage is anything to go by, you can count on one thing: the role of the CFO is about to change.
Are you prepared?
Over the past hundred or so years, we’ve seen such an amazing amount of innovation that it’s only natural to wonder what the future holds.
But today’s technological advances actually offer us a glimpse of that future. Mobile devices are fast becoming the norm for employees rather than a desktop computer. People are now actively pursuing lives with greater connectedness and mobility across multiple screens. As business leaders this requires a shift in our thinking.
We now need to recognise workplaces as flexible entities and accept that office locations may soon become a thing of the past, as more employees unchain themselves from the desktop.
Add the fact that working in cloud has made it much easier to do business on a global scale, and it’s clear to see that we’re entering the era of hyper connectivity.
Yes, doing business in this always on, always connected world will present certain challenges, but the many new opportunities on offer are undoubtedly exciting.
For New Zealand business, these shifts in technology will converge with a shift in population. Forecasts suggest that by 2040 half the population of New Zealand will be located in Auckland and they’ll also be more connected than ever as the ‘internet of everything’ continues to advance.
Indications of an increase to New Zealand’s Asian population also suggest a deeper trade engagement with our neighbouring countries, even at SME level as the cloud continues to break down our old notions of capability across business sectors. There’s no doubt that such dramatic change is incredibly daunting. However, New Zealanders are some of the smartest, most connected citizens on the planet. As a nation we are true competitors on a global scale, frequently punching above our weight in both productivity and innovation.
One thing is for certain, if you want to be part of this future, you need to act now.
According to Adrian Wong, MYOB Enterprise Solutions Product Manager, businesses can get ready by enabling and embracing an ‘always-on workforce’.
“At MYOB we’re definitely seeing a growing demand for a company’s employees to have access to any system – anywhere, anytime,” says Wong.
“Generationally more millennials are coming into the workforce, and they are used to the 24/7 connected world just like consumers,” he continues. “Operationally, the challenge for the CFO is how to get control over their business processes, as the number of people connecting to these critical systems expands.”
Speaking in a blog post earlier this year, Russell Craig, Microsoft National Technology Officer, is clear about what businesses need to do to stay ahead.
“For the Kiwi businesses that can embrace the technological shifts towards a flexible, mobile workforce, empowered by cloud solutions with devices to enable them to work better and faster,” says Craig, “the future is certainly bright.”
Being tied down with the day-to-day running of a business is the number one reason CFOs feel that they are not ‘future ready’. In fact, only six percent of CFOs believe they’re able to focus on strategic initiatives that will drive their future success.
So what exactly is ‘future ready’? Simply put, it’s the capacity to be agile. To be aware, to be predictive, to be ready to adapt to new and emerging challenges, to implement tech innovations, and to spot trends and changes in business, population, and social environment.
For John Moss, MYOB Chief Strategy Officer, one way the CFO can be ‘future-ready’ is to begin reviewing current processes.
“Every business needs to have a good handle on their finances, and how the economics of their business work in order to take advantage of opportunities, and respond to challenges,” says Moss. “To be set for the future, the CFO should consider implementing an online system with mobility options, a powerful financial engine, plus virtual dashboards that provide insights behind the financial detail. It’s about taking decision-making to the next level.”
Adrian Wong agrees.
“Increasing automation through your software suite can change the finance role, and the role of your finance team, for the better. In the old world, a finance department would act as the gatekeepers of transaction processing, reviewing and approving them, and enforcing policy and process.
“With an online system, a sales rep can submit an order on their smartphone in real time, rather than doing things manually with the finance team,” says Wong.
“Of course, the CFO will still need to consider how they manage policy and process effectively and how to keep control of the transaction flow,” continues Wong. “Rather than chasing paper, automation gives staff freedom to deliver value that leads to business growth.”
And if you’re set on future-proofing your business that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
MYOB has a range of enterprise solutions for bigger businesses.