In the current crisis, the CFO’s role is more important than ever. A key issue at stake is maintaining the company’s solvency in order to protect the business, but profitability is also essential, because the pandemic has not completely closed off business development opportunities. As CFO, you need to be responsive, to make the best strategic decisions, and to be perfectly agile. Good news, digitalization has really taken off! Powerful tools can help you to optimize your missions. Find out how to take advantage of them.

Your new challenges shaped by the crisis

Lockdowns, online consumption, the emergence of new digital work tools… the crisis has been a game-changer for professionals. The organization of the entire company has been turned upside down, and your challenges are changing significantly.

#1 Remote working

With the extensive use of teleworking, teams are physically dispersed. You used to travel from one office to another to gather the information you need to manage your business, but now you communicate differently: your exchanges are virtual, mostly in the cloud.

Your new challenges:

  • To set up and operate effective remote communication channels. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack… the health crisis has made these platforms the preferred way of organizing internal meetings. As CFO, you are not directly involved in operational collaborative projects. But this should not prevent you from keeping in touch with all employees – to obtain information and to instill a strategic focus. It is therefore essential that you use these digital communication platforms.
  • To manage corporate documents in an agile way. When employees work from home, it is in the company’s best interest to deploy a secure and efficient internal IT network. Regardless of the data recording medium, you need to be able to access information quickly and easily to manage your strategy. When working remotely, the concepts of reliability and real time are essential to guarantee your results.

#2 Reactivity

Your forecasts can fluctuate very quickly at the moment, in function of regulatory changes and medical developments. The entire market economy can turn upside down from one government announcement to the next, and your company must adapt.

Although you used to review your financial plans on a monthly or even quarterly basis, you now need to be more responsive and flexible to keep up with market fluctuations. Digitalization, once again, comes into play. Software developments with new automation and artificial intelligence functions help you to save time when using fast-moving data: you instantly obtain updated KPIs and can manage your strategy efficiently.

How to adapt your methods and tools in the context of digitalization

Your three priorities under the microscope:

  • Monitoring: quantified indicators are essential for your CFO duties. They help you to ensure that the company’s accounts are properly prepared, to monitor expenses, and to evaluate resources. If alarm bells begin to ring, for example if expenses rise or results fall, you may need to consider remedies to guarantee the company’s long-term solvency.
  • Anticipating: improving the company’s profitability is one of your major objectives. To do this, you must be able to anticipate opportunities (and risks) in times of crisis. Predictive analytics can be a valuable asset, not only to save time but also to obtain more reliable results when interpreting data. Digitalization guides your strategic decisions.
  • Collaborating: as a strategic advisor, you collaborate closely with the CEO. But in the context of digitalization, you also collaborate with the CIO. As digital tools expand, you need to assess the costs of upgrading your IT system, investing in new technologies, training your teams, and dealing with cyber security.

Your digital tools:

65% of working time is still spent on manual tasks. However, the new challenges of reactivity and flexibility are incompatible with this manual approach. New digital tools are needed to solve the problem.

  • By automating manual tasks, you will free up your time for strategic missions with higher added value.
  • AI instantaneously calculates your KPIs and analyzes them to steer you towards the areas to be improved in your decision making.
  • EDM systems allow you to centralize your company data, and real-time processing ensures that you are leveraging reliable data.

Focus on the advantages of expense report management applications:

An expense report management application is one of the essential tools for the digitalization of the CFO function. It addresses the major challenges of administrative and financial management:

  • Managing massive data collection: in your role as CFO, you need to deal with a huge (and exponential) volume of data. Expense reports are a large part of this data. By centralizing expense reports on a single management platform, you facilitate access to information. You gain in agility, and you simplify the management of your activity.
  • Saving time: the manual management of employees’ expense reports is not only tedious, it is also time-consuming. Thanks to automated processes, the application reduces your workload. You can personalize your management policy settings, in function of your objectives, for perfect control with no time wasting.
  • Reducing costs: AI makes information more reliable. By improving quality, you avoid the risk of errors when processing your expense reports, helping you to make savings. The automated management application also helps you to detect fraud – a source of losses. Finally, the transition to paperless expense reports opens the way to digital archiving, which is much less expensive…

You have significant responsibilities in times of crisis. Why not lighten your workload by taking advantage of digitalization? The use of these new tools will be a determining factor in your results and in the sustainability of your company.