5 ways digital transformation is changing enterprise for the better
The digital transformation making seismic waves in the accounting and finance departments isn’t about implementing technology just for the sake of change. Instead, it’s about the intelligent disruption of a static and sterile status quo, looking at business functions and processes from a different angle, one that is inherently strategic rather than procedural.
In fact, technology is already redefining traditional roles throughout the industry to match the dynamic, evolving nature of the marketplace and customer expectations. For any company still sitting on the digital fence, a quick look at just a few of the ways technology is transforming the industry should serve as a much-needed wakeup call.
1. Cloud computing
The most successful companies are fast and nimble, able to change direction and pivot on the slightest of cues. Cloud computing is a vital source of such agility, providing decision-makers with immediate, constant access to the financial data that drives growth. It transforms accounting and the financials it feeds into a dynamic, prescient force that informs the direction of the entire enterprise. Cloud computing accelerates strategy, breaking from the shackles of slow and methodical local data servers. It allows engagements to be more client-focused rather than entirely data-centric, strengthening relationships with constant and efficient access to information, no matter the location.
Think of the difference between local servers and cloud computing like the Tortoise and the Hare, only in this case the hare never takes a break or pauses to enjoy the scenery. Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race.
2. Accountant soothsayers
Through digital technologies like cloud computing and robotic process automation, companies can shift resources from time-consuming endeavors to those that focus on the future. Accountants are on the frontlines of this dramatic shift, now responsible for modeling and forecasting that was previously the exclusive domain of the finance department.
Consequently, accounting is experiencing an upheaval in skills and knowledge, transforming accountants from transactional gurus to forward-thinking sages. Simply put, accountants are now occupying the space where automated technologies still can’t tread, making them invaluable components to operational strategy.
3. Auditors evolve from beat cop to detective
Internal auditors have long been the local police within an enterprise’s operations. As digital transformation spreads in the auditing space, however, internal auditors are evolving along with streamlined, digitized operations, now analyzing the efficacy of the automated systems to ensure accuracy. While we don’t foresee a time where auditors will be junior members of the IT brigade, digital technology has created the need for auditors to have at least a precursory understanding of the systems that generate data within an enterprise.
In the bigger picture, auditors must interpret how the technologies work and determine if they are fulfilling their designated processes properly.
4. Nimble decision making
The digital transformation has also created the need for executives to better understand what technology can and cannot do, helping them form realistic expectations to inform decisions and strategy. Finance is now rooted in immediacy and turnaround speed, two critical traits that corporate leaders must leverage to the fullest extent. Margins for error have slimmed and time available for strategizing narrowed, creating the ongoing need for decision-makers to be fast on their feet and nimble with their thought process.
5. Greater shareholder expectations
The relationship between a company an
d its shareholders thrives on transparency, reliability, and accountability. All things being equal, shareholders will always choose companies with the most accurate financials and sound processes over other firms. As automated technologies continue to occupy responsibilities formerly filled by fleets of able-minded accountants and finance professionals, financial data is now available faster and with fewer mistakes. Likewise, increased ROI by adopting these technologies increases profitability, driving both share prices and market capitalization which, of course, is also welcomed by shareholdersThis notion has raised shareholder expectations, now far less lenient with their capital and companies continuing to slog through manual processes that could otherwise be automated and streamlined. Granted, although a sobering thought for executives, enterprises must now adapt to the shifting demands of both the marketplace and shareholders. For those that leverage technology properly, however, the opportunity to find enduring success has never been greater.
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