Finance and Accounting

Digital finance beyond 2021: People, tech, and the way ahead!

Key studies and surveys of CFOs and finance businesses confirm what many knew all along — the future of finance functions will find people and technology in new and strategic roles.

Here are some key predictions and emerging trends in finance and accounting.

How technology and people will forge the future of finance?

  • Technology

    Invest in the right blend of digital technologies for a future-ready finance function. This includes forward-looking technologies like:

    • In-memory computing: IMC delivers faster analytics using chip-based memory instead of disks to store data as well as mines insights from massive financial data sets with flexibility and reduced complexity.
    • Cloud and SaaS : Collaboration across teams and standardisation of processes is easier with cloud-based ERP and software-as-a-service solutions that reduce costs and lets enterprises access the latest technologies.
    • Data analytics : Both predictive and prescriptive data analytics are crucial for the future of finance. CFOs must tap into real-time data on business trends, patterns to mitigate fraud, and machine learning for granular predictions.
    • Robotic process automation: Flawless audit trails, high-volumes of repetitive entries without errors, and various cost benefits make RPA the driver of speed and quality in F&A.
    • Blockchain: Blockchain can deliver secure data to CFOs, increasing IT security, streamlining contract enforcement, and help create internal record systems.
    • Artificial intelligence: AI detects crucial patterns. It learns and adapts, helping find exceptions to processes. Leaders in finance will find AI aiding complex decisions, based on analysis of massive data sets.
    • Using seamless futuristic technologies can provide enterprises an opportunity to reimagine their finance function.

  • People

    Skill development in digital technologies like SaaS, cloud, blockchain, and mobility is going to be the focus areas. CFOs must make bold moves to develop teams that embrace adaptability, transparency, and communication to complement and get the most out of new technologies.

The success of business will largely depend on combining smart technologies with the acumen and interpersonal skills of the talent enterprises hire and retain. The enterprises that will be tomorrow’s leaders will be the ones that synergise people and technology in the right direction.

The future of finance: Top trends to expect

So, what is the future of the finance industry?

For enterprises, it involves redesigning and operating the finance function in a digitally powered environment.

  • Touchless transactions:

    End-to-end automation and blockchain will remove many manual tasks, rework, and traditional silos, making transactions smooth.
  • Massive growth in data:

    Structured and unstructured data will be analysed for insights. RPA and machine learning can together create model scenarios, enabling better performance and predictive analysis.
  • New service delivery models:

    Automation will lead to analyses of onshore and offshore operations, as well as a re-evaluation of organisational and cost management.
  • ERP transformation:

    Complexity and costs will reduce. Finance apps and microservices will be integrated with ERP platforms, with built-in tech like blockchain and automation.
  • Data standardisation:

    An increase in APIs will help standardise data. However, enterprises can fail to solve data problems due to a lack of understanding of the tedious work involved in data integration and automation.
  • Changing professional talent models:

    It’s not just the focus on data scientists and analysts, and technical capabilities; hiring value in finance will be evaluated on customer service, flexibility, communication, and individual impact.
  • Self-service:

    Self-service portals and customer service software are on the uptick. Reports and budget queries will be automated. Proactive data points that are intuitive and easy to understand will keep customers happy.

How CFOs can prepare for digital finance in 2021 and beyond?

A big goal for enterprises is to clearly understand current data and analyse it actionably. Count opportunity costs in automation and identify technologies and skills, which aremost aligned to business goals.

The ideal roadmap to a future-ready finance function should balance addressing existing gaps while gaining optimal returns on investment in people and technology.

Infosys BPM: Future-ready finance and accounting outsourcing

With more than 14,000 F&A professionals servicing over 100 clients, our Finance and Accounting practice can take charge of enterprises most complex processes and free up the finance leadership bandwidth to focus on strategic influencer roles.

Our F&A outsourcing services take a holistic approach to re-engineer enterprises, create ‘zero’ back-office, and repurpose talent. We use our deep domain expertise to design end-to-end CFO support solutions that drive functional transformation.

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