Financial Management Is Going Digital

by Wehan Dreyer | July 20, 2021

Technology has changed the accounting industry drastically over the last decade. Gone are the days of pens and calculators used to balance the books and verify if ledgers are accurate. Accountants are no longer the number crunchers they are pictured to be. Instead, they are finance professionals with diverse roles who have become part of strategic planning teams. Now, many “accountants” are giving advice, developing new processes, and performing future forecasts that a computer cannot be fully trusted to do.

A Digital Mindset

The rise of the digital age has forced traditional accountants to shift their mindset of what it is to be a finance professional and what the value-adding activities are that the profession provides. For the industry to stay relevant, finance professionals had to evolve as follows:
  1. To become digitally literate, having sufficient technological knowledge and be capable and confident to use it to add value in an organization.
  2. The fast pace of technological development meant that the “shelf life” of technological know-how quickly becomes out of date, thus finance professionals had to commit to lifelong digital learning.
  3. The view of technology had to be seen as an opportunity (for example to improve the efficiency and productivity of the profession as well as free up time) and not as a threat that would make their roles redundant.
  4. Newfound focus had to be placed on the value-adding activities within the finance function in the modern age.

Benefits of The Technologically Revolutionized Finance Professional

Apart from the fact that technology enables finance professionals to work faster, more efficient and be more productive at new tasks, the technological revolution has affected finance professionals favorably to the benefit of organizations in the following ways:
  1. Data Analytics
    Now more than ever in history, we have the technological capability to access and process huge volumes of data at increased speeds from various sources in real time.  The data can be both qualitative (non-numerical data) or quantitative data (numerical data) and give finance professionals the increased ability to find patterns and trends that were previously impossible or too time-consuming to identify for decision makers.
  2. Process Automation & System Integration
    Errors and inconsistencies from information are all but eliminated by automating certain processes, thus ensuring that the integrity of the data and information are intact. Finance professionals not only have to be aware of these automated technologies and other core modernization tools, but must be able to implement and monitor them, or at the very least be able to work in conjunction with the IT department to ensure the systems work effectively and efficiently.
  3. Improved Performance
    The creation of relevant, in-time information can result in finance professionals providing decision makers better insight into how to improve their operations, how to best allocate and utilize resources and assist with making faster decisions to gain advantage over the competition. Furthermore, to also identify operational and managerial inefficiencies.
  4. Policies & Procedures
    Together, policies & procedures provide a roadmap for day-to-day operations. They ensure compliance with laws and regulations, give guidance for decision-making, and streamline internal processes. Finance professionals in the modern age help implement and monitor these policies and procedures, to ensure that it addresses and adjusts for changes in technology and still has the desired effect. Disjointed or outdated guidelines could cause the flow of data and information to be inaccurate and invalid for analysis and interpretation.
  5. Risk Management
    Finance professionals in the modern age play a vital role in the identification of the various risks a business might be exposed to (whether operational, economic, political, financial, etc.). This assists management or decision makers to assess the level of risk and how to best mitigate that risk. With an ever-changing technological environment, it is crucial for finance professionals to try and find technological solutions to better mitigate the current risks, but also limit the risk involved with future endeavors the organization might pursue.
  6. Strategic Planning
    Data visualization tools have made the presentation of information paperless and therefore cheaper, but also quicker and in real-time to support faster decision-making capabilities. Technology has enabled finance professionals to become strategic partners for organizations when it comes to decision making, planning and providing insights such as:
  • Suggesting how to best use surplus cash.
  • Assessment of overall organization health and reporting on key performance indicators as identified.
  • Budgeting, forecasting and analysis to solidify and support organizational decisions.
  • Analyze economic and business trends, as well as past organizational performance.
  • Discussions with decision makers to improve the organization in line with its overall goals from a financial perspective.
Developments in technology have now given finance professionals more time on their hands for more diverse tasks. They are able to veer away from time-consuming number crunching and are increasingly able to expand into more specialized and strategic roles. More specific and value-adding roles are the norm now, and skilled finance professionals can provide more high-level specialty services.
Are you in need of a strategic financial management partner? At waufm our skilled team of specialized finance professionals have embraced the fourth industrial revolution and are ready to take your organisation to the next level.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *