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Why Modernizing Finance Requires A Digital Culture

Accounting Efficiency

The non-digital piece of your digital transformation

As a CFO or finance leader, there is a need to bring technology into the operational processes of the finance and accounting department, which is becoming inevitable. The workforce is changing. People aren’t looking to build a career on menial functions and processes. It just doesn’t motivate them. They want to grow their career and add value to the organization they work for. 

Also, hiring manual labor to do that function is now a negative abyss that technology capability solves. Buying technology is easy, in any case. What needs to be addressed is the perception that management–the “non-digital side,–of growing companies has around digital transformation. 

You also need to consider that technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that the pro’s considerably outweigh what manual labor has to offer. 

The biggest shift that needs to happen then, is on the “non-digital side” of operations. The mindset of management and staff. 

So, what do you need to do?

Adaptation to AP automation is a process

Change can occur at any level but it only succeeds when leaders and enthusiastic key team members are in agreement. For the accounts payable team that level of buy-in is going to happen at all levels from your internal approvers to your AP staff, right up to your Controller and/or CFO.

Having a CFO or Controller who is enthusiastic and on board makes the move forward a much easier one. We are naturally resistant to change. But if everyone feels comfortable and prepared the conversation isn’t about resistance but rather adapting your processes moving forward. 

As the digital stakeholders however, the CFO or Controller needs to understand the reasons a move like AP automation is the right move. And if they are not as enthusiastic or prepared for a discussion around implementing a fintech solution it will be important to highlight areas of organizational impact such as:

  • Greater visibility and data capture
  • The ability to scale the operational side without adding headcount
  • Employing best practices for compliance and financial controls

What tech transformation means to your finance staff

Like we mentioned earlier, having everyone on board with the integration of automation ensures that things progress smoothly. Have your finance staff involved in the process, let their voices be heard. When introducing the idea and framing a new technology it’s important that staff understand what the solution would allow them to accomplish. Becoming even better at what they are already doing while allowing them to focus on more value-added efforts. 

As you think about accounts payable functions imagine greater control, fraud protection, reduced payment issues with suppliers, eliminating duplicate payments, and a higher level of service with greater efficiency. 

And because accounts payable is a service within your organization there are added benefits to the company as a whole. Through automation you would be reducing friction around the approval process, avoiding clunky or difficult user interfaces, and implementing a centralized process for all of your vendors. 

Involvement of External Stakeholders

Granted, your vendors will be involved because they want to ensure that you–as their customer–are happy (and they also want to get paid). But as you implement an end-to-end AP automation solution you can absolutely make that process easy on your vendors too. 

Consider a streamlined invoice upload process, payment status notifications, offering accelerated payments to improve working capital, and a vendor portal so your vendors have a place to go for information, updates, and more. 

Shifting mentality

Shifting how we do things in our lives can be very difficult, especially if what we are moving away from isn’t necessarily broken. But, what we are seeing is a huge shift in how we live our lives and conduct business. We are bringing more of our world “online” and it allows us to achieve more every day. Automating tasks that are manual and rote and gaining time and energy to focus on bigger and better things. 

This shift isn’t merely a technical one replacing one widget for another. We are experiencing a cultural shift that will dictate how we live our lives in the coming years. And, as we consider how to scale business operations, adapting and evolving will be crucial.   


Nick Priest


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