Financial technology: a new landscape for a digital world


Over the past decade, the fintech landscape has changed at a breakneck pace, with all indicators pointing to a faster pace of innovation.

Cloud computing has lowered the bar for the deployment of new applications. Finance automation enables accounting and finance teams to speed up financial close and budgeting cycles.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) promises to eliminate repetitive and bulky tasks like reconciliations. New technologies like AI and blockchain are emerging.

It’s a wave of technology that can seem overwhelming.

Trace a path to value

A KPMG study found that 70% of CEOs see technology as the key to the future role of the CFO. The challenge for CFOs is to educate themselves about the different technologies available to them in the finance stack, understand where they can create value, get a perspective on their maturity and risk, and create a sheet. route for change adjusted for value and risk.

Understanding today’s financial solutions will help you effectively address these challenges and advance your financial transformation initiatives.

cloud computing

Solutions designed specifically for the cloud deliver a consistent web user experience and allow business users to personalize them. In addition, they often have strong application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow them to be easily integrated with other cloud and on-premises applications in the financial technology landscape, such as legacy ERPs or third-party vendors, billing, banking and credit card systems.

With cybersecurity and continuity being the top priority for CFOs around cloud services, look for ISO 27001 certification as well as SOC 1/2/3 compliance to ensure that the vendor dedicates the highest level of security and control to managing and securing your application. your data.

Finance follows a hybrid model in the way it deploys cloud applications. Simply put, a hybrid approach combines new cloud technology with existing on-premises applications. It allows the addition of new cloud applications, such as automating reconciliations or improving financial reporting, without having to remove and replace the old infrastructure by integrating the new with the old one.

To be successful, look for cloud solutions that provide rich, pre-built connectivity to ERPs, strong SOAP and REST APIs, and the ability to reach firewalls to connect to on-premises systems.

Cloud Financial Corporate Performance Management (FCPM)

Cloud FCPM technology, currently in the adoption phase in large and mid-sized accounting firms, focuses on streamlining and reducing risk in the financial close process.

FCPM technology includes several features, including reconciliations, management of financial close tasks, financial reporting, intercompany processing and variance analysis, as well as financial consolidation and pre-consolidation.

Typical users of FCPM technology include all levels of accounting and auditing, as well as downstream teams that consume financial data, such as FP&A.

FCPM technology augments existing ERP deployments on premise or in the cloud, often connecting to external registration systems such as banking systems, credit cards and vendors.

Recently defined by Gartner as a strategic category of the “Magic Quadrant”, FCPM marks a transition from on-premise monolithic “mega-suites” that are often difficult to deploy and expensive to maintain, to cutting-edge applications designed specifically for accounting , audit and financial directors.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA can be thought of as a subset of FCPM. RPA is a rules-based technology approach designed to replicate high-volume, repetitive tasks and can be applied to areas such as transaction matching or intercompany eliminations.

With the increasing advancements in cognitive computing and machine learning, the complexity of tasks subject to automation by RPA engines continues to advance.

Value drivers for RPA include efficiency as well as consistency in the application of business rules.

Data analysis

Reporting and data analysis is generally a priority for finance teams. Business Intelligence (BI) and data discovery and visualization tools all enable better analysis of income and expense data, trends, thresholds and variances in dashboards or reports.

Cloud data warehouses further enable finance teams to integrate financial and operational data as they deepen their role as a business partner, supporting cross-functional teams.

However, the first step in any data analysis initiative is to ensure access to the data, and it is often often difficult to extract it from ERPs and other systems without extensive “data travel” or transfer in sheets. Calculation.

A multi-ERP environment often presents an even greater challenge, requiring the combination of data across multiple systems to obtain a consolidated view for analysis, which creates additional delays.

Manually integrating data analysis tools with multiple accounting systems is not only time consuming. This can often create serious data quality issues and the risk of erroneous downstream analyzes.

FCPM technology is frequently used as a data access layer in ERP and other financial sources, ensuring strong data integrity, establishing a single point of trust for financial data to be analyzed and enabling real-time access. to the latest financial data at any time during the accounting period.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML) and, more recently, deep learning have all gained considerable attention in the media. In many cases, vendor claims about offering this class of technology are exaggerated.

In a nutshell, AI and ML algorithms / rules can be trained based on identifying patterns in large volumes of numeric or textual data. They can then apply what they have learned to uncover information such as helping accounting teams and auditors find anomalies and exceptions in data, and providing early warning of accounting fraud.

In almost all cases, the claimed benefits of today’s cutting edge AI in finance are already being realized by current FCPM and RPA solutions. These products already provide advanced rule-based systems that can both automate and highlight exceptions and discrepancies, and are specially designed for accounting needs.

Finance at the helm

As we move forward in the new financial landscape, digital know-how is essential. According to EY, 74% of CFOs see an understanding of digital, smart technologies and analytics as a required skill, and McKinsey reports that only 3% say they are ready for the digitalization of the business in the next 5 years. .

Now is the time for financial leaders to take the lead in technology decisions and ensure their organization is equipped to thrive in our digital world.


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