Building a digital strategy for your finance department is a necessary step in getting finance to be a part of the bigger picture of the business.
The digital world is changing quickly, and this technology-driven shift has left many finance departments struggling to keep up.
You don’t want to be caught off guard in a business environment that’s heavily reliant on technology. In order to succeed, you need a robust digital strategy that aligns your finance department with the goals of your organisation.
Here’s what you need to know about building a digital strategy for your finance department—and why it matters.
The Role of Technology in Finance
Technology is transforming the finance department.
The digital world has given rise to new ways for employees to interact with information, each other, customers, and C-level executives.
But technology alone isn’t enough.
At its core, a savvy business strategy requires a cohesive mix of technology, people and processes.
And that’s precisely what digital transformation is all about: the rapid evolution of how we work together with technology to achieve business outcomes.
This means finance professionals need a clear understanding not only of today’s technologies but where they are headed—and why this matters for their department.
While the digital tools used in finance are changing quickly, the fundamental tenets of great accounting remain the same.
When it comes to building a digital strategy for your finance department, there’s one playbook to follow: people, process and technology.
Senior finance professionals need to understand how employees can interact with information, collaborate with each other and work with customers across the entire company.
They also need to understand how technology can help them achieve business outcomes faster by streamlining their processes to save time and resources.
And at the end of the day, finance professionals should be confident that their department is using technology in a way that doesn’t eliminate human interaction, but rather enhances it.
What can you do to build a digital strategy for your finance department?
1. Build a People-First Culture
Today’s finance teams are expected to play a key role in transforming how companies do business and the first step is developing a people-first culture that prioritizes employees.
You should actively create a desirable work environment that considers and fulfils the needs of one of your people.
Empower your staff to be change agents and leaders in their roles. This will give them the courage to go “all in” with your digital strategy.
And don’t forget to emphasize the need for collaboration.
Instead of working in silos, finance teams should be looking at business challenges through a collective lens.
If CFOs expect team members to transition rapidly towards digital processes, they must first invest in making sure their employees are well-equipped and motivated to do so—both with the modern technology and skills required.
2. Know Your Data
To become data-driven requires establishing a clear understanding of what’s contained in each type of data and where it can be found.
This starts by knowing what makes up your company’s treasure trove of information.
Once you know what’s available, consider how to use each type of data to create a comprehensive view of the business. This is the first step toward making your finance department more responsive to business needs and making collaboration more efficient.
3. Build for the Future
Digital strategy succeeds when finance leaders embrace long-term goals that guide technology decisions.
Choosing the right systems requires having a clear vision of where your department is headed over time, and understanding how future changes can impact your process and people needs.
Look ahead at what’s next in terms of digital transformation and how it can help you achieve your long-term goals.
Just know there are no ‘constants’ in digital transformation; the only thing you can be sure of is change. The trick is embracing change and capitalising on its potential to transform your finance department for the better and ultimately deliver stronger business results.
4. Develop a Digital Transformation Plan
Digital strategy, at its core, involves using new technologies to fundamentally change your organisation for the better.
But how can businesses successfully execute a digital transformation project? One step is to create a digital transformation plan.
A plan unifies the objectives of those involved and aligns efforts towards a common goal.
The roadmap should outline what needs to be done and how success will be measured.
The plan should cover technology, people, leadership and cultural change. With a plan in place, businesses can confidently start the transformation process.
The following are some key questions that you should consider when creating your digital transformation plan:
What is your business vision?
Digital transformation can get complicated quickly. Before you start, it is important to define the steps and actions that tie into your overall business vision.
What is the current state?
Understanding the current state of your organisation will help you create a strategy and selection of technologies that will push your organisation forward.
Where do we need to be?
With a thorough understanding of where your organisation is and where it needs to go, you can begin the process of getting there.
How do we get there?
There are many paths to transformation. It’s important to know what steps you will need to take and how they tie into your overall strategy.
How do we measure success?
It is important to determine how you will measure ongoing progress throughout the process. There are several KPIs that can help you track your success.
Digital transformation is a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
By implementing a digital strategy for your finance department, you can strengthen business performance and drive towards a brighter future.
The key is staying focused on business objectives and using the right digital tools such as SunSystems to help you meet them.
To learn more about how SunSystems can transform your finance department, please get in touch with us today!