Why leading blue-chip brands modernised their finance function - and why you should too

Why leading blue-chip brands modernised their finance function - and why you should too
Manual updates, disorganised data, and systems shutting down. These scenarios were some tipping-points that recently led CFOs from four Australian blue-chip brands to modernise their organisation's finance function.

Companies with similar number-crunching issues need to modernise their finance function, or risk being left behind, according to a leading Australian analytics company.

Brisbane-based Bistech has released a report to help organisations transform their finance function by automating their existing processes.

A solution for now and for the future

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said, "the only certainty in life is change".

This seems to be truer than ever in this era of fast-changing technology with chief financial officers (CFO) under increasing pressure to drive organisational change so companies can benefit from the huge amount of data being generated.

But CFOs do need to keep the future in mind; predictive analytics (AI and Machine Learning) are likely to be the norm in the near future, and any solution a CFO might invest in now  needs to be able to handle that eventuality.

All organisations need to automate their processes if they want to derive benefits from data and remain relevant. But how do CFOs know when the time is right to seek a solution? And how do they know which is the right one for their business?

Tipping points and benefits

Bistech's report discusses the tipping points that resulted in some organisations realising that the lack of financial modernisation was hurting their business. These include:

  • Essential tasks and processes taking too long: this was the case for Allianz Worldwide Partners, who were managing their financials in flat files that required a manual update for every change.
  • Growth outstripping capability: ALS Global's growth was resulting in constant restructures, with their existing finance system unable to keep up.
  • Errors and inaccuracies: Auto & General were getting different numbers out of each business unit, and needed a single version of the truth so they could make strategic business decisions. Another Bistech client was also struggling with system failure that was leading to inaccurate data.

Bistech modernised these organisations' finance function through Headstart, their financial performance management system, based on IBM planning analytics technology. In Bistech's report, Allianz Worldwide Partners, ALS Global, Auto & General and other Australian companies say the benefits derived include:

  • Better data: Auto & General say the new solution increased trust in the numbers generated. "Because the company still gets a lot of numbers for different parts of the business, if it comes out of our system they know they can trust it."
  • More visibility and more powerful reporting: Allianz Worldwide Partners point to better visibility and improved trouble-shooting. "Different cost-centre managers can see their annual budget, they can change and update the information and it just flows to the rest of the figures. And we're better at spotting problems."
  • Increased efficiency and reliability: ALS Global say the solution accelerated data processes by 20 per cent and increased data quality by 30 per cent. "Over the medium term, these time savings should help to deliver a full return on the investment in the solution."
  • Improved staff satisfaction and performance: All of Bistech's customers said the solution resulted in improved staff satisfaction. They could focus on the insights generated by the analytics instead of having to get a report out.
  • A competitive edge: All Bistech's customers said access to more accurate data and better financial planning resulted in more confident decision-making.

Bistech's report covers all aspects of modernising a finance function, including tips on how organisations can get started on their transformation journey.

Download the report now to find out more.

This article was written in partnership with BISTECH.

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