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Many finance leaders know they need to change, but are stuck wondering 'how?'

The future agility of your finance function requires the latest data, delivered in real-time to help you make immediate decisions. But how do you more value from my data and start to take advantage of the next generation of technology? And provide the insight and control to oversee wider innovation and transformation?

How agile can you really be with a stack of Excel spreadsheets weighing you down?

While ‘making do’ with the current way of working may seem safest and easiest; operating costs, user experience and customer experience are likely to suffer.

Imagine being stuck with an outdated Nokia 3310, while everyone else has upgraded to the latest smartphone. As they’re enjoying new functions and even faster connectivity, you’re struggling to stay in the loop.

Stop working the old way

It’s clear from KPMG’s work that many companies still use Excel spreadsheets and complex, outdated ERP systems for their finance functions. Why? It’s a way of working that they know and feel comfortable with. But using such systems to get even simple profitability reports–let alone in-depth analysis–requires a huge amount of manual data extraction and manipulation. As a result, efficiency, data integrity, and the speed (and accuracy) of decision making are affected. There’s little time for robust analysis, much less planning, so finance cannot fulfil its role as a valued partner to the business. Keeping ahead of the competition, or even just keeping up with them, is also near impossible.

That’s why it’s time to change, now.

Start focusing on what matters

If reports and business data are not aligned it is difficult to plan cashflow, create timely forecasts and understand the financial impact of events early enough.

What’s needed are the technology-enabled, data-centric changes necessary to create a digital end state, where finance has visibility on spend. Combined with self-service opportunities for users, at any touchpoint, and services made available via mobile, even greater agility is possible.

Yet many organizations put off making these changes until they have no choice but to move to the cloud. In fact, the earlier you can migrate your systems and data, the greater the competitive advantage and the more successful the transformation.

Using best practice methodologies and governance, it’s easier to redesign simple but robust end-to-end processes with modern ERP platforms and the cloud. With the right platform you can segment data and standardize reports in a way that was not possible before. Bringing together multiple modules that were previously separate creates a platform that provides real insights—in real time.

This agility and speed of access will help inform decisions across the business. It also enables new ways of interacting with customers and, crucially, meeting their expectations. This frees capacity and gives you more time to focus on what matters.

How it adds up across the business

The right end-state, accurate data accessibility and a future focus, help build cross-departmental collaboration. Making sure you have the right people at the decision table, from HR to procurement, is essential to deliver the best customer experience. With advanced data analysis, and the deeper insight it delivers, you can determine profitability across multiple dimensions customer, channel, product. It enables you to give informed advice—to decide where, when, and how to make interventions. Finance becomes an influencer with a unique perspective that gives confidence to others across the organization. That’s just one example of the value that forward-thinking finance delivers.

There’s no reason to wait

Transitioning and integrating finance in the cloud enables your transformation towards the future. This will require a cultural change, with a new emphasis on positive, future-thinking teams. The result is a more confident and dynamic business that’s focused on continual improvement and more financial oversight across previously separate business units, which benefits both your client-facing functions and internal process efficiency.

KPMG Powered Finance provides the evidence and support you need for answering the challenges that face a modern function.

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