As finance mandates at small and midsize enterprises expand quickly, a typical day in the life of Finance Managers and CFOs is no longer what it used to be.

Finance departments are playing a more prominent role in enabling or leading the strategic transformations their companies need to succeed and remain relevant in a highly competitive marketplace.  Many finance leaders are confident they can match the ever-evolving demands of their roles, and they can help steer their organizations in the right direction by leveraging sophisticated information technology.

Why and How is the Finance Function at SMBs Expanding?

SMBs are ambitious, and they aspire to grow. Between where these companies are today and where they wish to be in the future, critical transformations must occur. Financial management and oversight sit at the core of the necessary operational or transactional changes.

Today, if the finance manager of a growing enterprise is not taking up some traditional responsibilities of a CEO, they’re collaborating closely with a CEO to accomplish common growth objectives. CFOs are now impacting key decisions and strategies outside of their traditional finance and accounting portfolios. Their sphere of influence has grown into departments like legal, IT, and human resources.

For the finance function to play a central in enhancing corporate performance in an entire organization, effective collaboration is necessary. As such, CFOs need to find a way to work closely with their counterparts in areas like sales, marketing, supply chain, or corporate strategy.

Going forward, SMBs expect their finance departments to deliver and share much more than just past results and statistics. It’s now a finance job to produce in-depth analytics to shed light on and help shape the future of SMBs.

Can Finance Professionals Cope With their Evolving Responsibilities?

Yes, finance leaders and their teams can match the demands of their changing roles, but they need to adopt the prerequisite skill sets first. Here are some of the capabilities these professionals have to acquire or develop to keep pace with the rapid transformations in the digital economy:

  • Analytics: SMBs have to make informed, mission-critical decisions very fast these days. They’re increasingly relying on the finance function to produce actionable business intelligence quickly enough. Finance teams need to acquire the skills and capabilities to collect and analyze financial data. More than ever before, SMBs rely on such analytics to develop forward-looking growth strategies.
  • IT skills: As the line between IT and finance continues to blur, SMB finance professionals have to advance their technical know-how. They need to learn how to use technology to fulfil new mandates, such as sophisticated analytics.

How Finance Can Leverage Technology to Fulfill its Evolving Mandate

Technology enables the finance function to serve its emerging roles well against the backdrop of a fast-paced change in the business environment. Here are key examples:

  • Data collection: Today’s enterprise data comes from a broad spectrum of structured and unstructured sources. Harmonized information systems can solve the problem and help finance leaders extract financial and performance data from disparate sources.
  • Analysis: Only with advanced technology can the finance function execute in-depth financial and performance analytics at the necessary speed to inform strategic choices, and to accelerate business growth.
  • Collaboration: To play a meaningful role in areas like sales, inventories, or HR, finance professionals have to use collaboration tools. Integrated information systems make it all possible. They provide full visibility into enterprise data, enabling personnel across the various operating or business units to share and consult in real time. Finance leaders need such technology to deliver business intelligence to their colleagues on time.
  •  Automation: Technology automates vital enterprise functions and workflows, from big data mining and analytics to collaboration. It helps finance departments to streamline reporting, accounting, and compliance functions that are growing in complexity day by day. In the end, automation lets finance professionals focus on higher-value business processes or tasks.

In Conclusion

SMBs have to embrace several fundamental changes to achieve sustainable growth against the background of a rapidly changing digital economy. But most of the necessary enterprise transformations are increasingly becoming integral to finance, introducing new responsibilities for this function. As such, finance managers have to develop capabilities for leveraging technology to play a central role in developing and implementing their organizations’ fast-paced growth strategies.

Are you a finance leader seeking to utilize technology to help your company succeed? Contact us at Leverage Technologies for help choosing and implementing the right tech solution!