Managing our personal finances has become easier than ever. Nearly every bank, brokerage, and credit card company have an app that allows us to seamlessly make payments and check our balances. Even our budgeting has moved from personal spreadsheets to automated platforms like Mint and Personal Capital, which merge accounts and automatically categorize where and how we spend our money.
In the business world, however, budgets are still managed on spreadsheets. Alarmingly, that’s the case for 70% of financial professionals. Why, in a world with advanced technologies and artificial intelligence, are we using smarter tools for our personal budgets than our corporate budgets — which deal with exponentially more money?
While spreadsheets have been the go-to tool for budget management in the past, they can’t keep up with today’s data demands of fast-paced business operations and complex financial processes for managing and planning the financial budget. New software tools that incorporate analytics enable finance professionals to move beyond spreadsheets and into a new level of operational sophistication, thereby streamlining budget management, accessing real-time data points, and creating comprehensive, insightful forecasts.
This new approach to corporate performance management frees finance teams from the tedious and timely tasks of managing data and reports, allowing them to focus on the things that matter most for their business: improving profitability, ensuring optimal data governance, and making more informed and accurate decisions.
Improve Profitability Through Automation
Whether on-premise or in the cloud, business is evolving and corporations’ systems need to evolve, too. Automated corporate performance management (CPM) solutions manage all budgetary and financial processes in real time, greatly benefitting the enterprise’s operations. This allows them to focus on what matters most to their business – decision making that improves profitability and minimizes risk.
Ensure Optimal Data Governance
Large corporations manage an abundance of data across departments and locations, making the collection, scrubbing, combining and reporting a drawn-out process. This is a long, outdated system in which management can easily miss opportunities and risks that need to be addressed.
Rather than manually going through this process on a daily, weekly or quarterly basis, comprehensive, easy-to-understand automated dashboards show a company’s current performance. This insight is critical to simplifying analytics, streamlining workflows, and ensuring optimal data governance across the organization — which, of course, is essential to finance teams in meeting compliance.
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Make Informed Decisions
Through an integrated financial planning platform, CPM breaks down silos and fosters collaboration, giving financial teams a more complete picture of the organization. This leads to more informed and accurate decisions.
For too many companies, the thinking goes, “As long as we’re not in the red, our financial performance is good enough.” Maybe 50, 20 or even 10 years ago, that reasoning could be understood. But with today’s technology, it’s a shortsighted view when so many tools provide extensive new levels of insight into the health of the company.
Modernize Your Approach
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have already made inroads into many industries. By introducing AI and machine learning to the CPM model, financial data can be further optimized for greater insights. With the ability to handle larger data sets, AI rapidly enables the detection of patterns and unknown anomalies, upon which further interactive analysis can be performed via voice commands. According to the Global Business Travel Association, nearly one in five expense reports have errors. AI can automatically identify and flag these errors in advance of reporting. Through machine learning capabilities finance teams can provide time scale predictive analytics to improve forecasting capabilities.
Technology has made our personal lives easier. We’re able to make purchases on our phones, ask Google/Siri/Alexa questions and, someday soon, will be sitting in driverless cars. And yet in offices across the world, many corporations are still using spreadsheets to manage their budgets.
Doesn’t it seem like it’s time to modernize your approach to enterprise performance management? By updating their software and embracing AI and machine learning, financial officers can benefit from greater insight into their company performance and experience greater business results.