Digitalisation in Finance

Digitalising finance: a major challenge for organisations of all kinds.

According to Gartner, the term “digital” in the early 2000s only ranked among the Top 5 priorities for CEOs in 2.1% of the companies surveyed, whereas today it is a priority for one out of every five companies. The proportion of companies that have a digital strategy rose from 62% in 2018 to 82% in 2019, confirms Gartner, which considers that 90% of companies today have already been confronted with different types of disruption in their business models.


Why Digitalise Your Accounting?


Corporate entities are now all concerned by digitalisation and are faced with the need to digitalise their accounting to simultaneously adapt manual processes and services and accomplish other goals, namely: achieving greater agility, smoother flow, and simplicity; improving relations with customers, which is an issue that affects both sales and margins; leveraging electronic platforms to increase performance and productivity; and rethinking human resource management to increase people's digital skills.


According to a study on finance departments in 2020 by the human resource consulting firm Robert Half, 80% of CFOs can already see the difficulties they will have recruiting and retaining skilled teams of co-workers, particularly people with digital profiles.


This performance requirement in a complex and uncertain environment is a recurring factor for finance departments: according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on 2020 priorities for financial directors, it has been a leading consideration since 2018 and will remain so for the next three years. According to the study, the goal is to “make relevant, high-quality, and meaningful data available to better anticipate and facilitate decision-making. Companies need open systems that can collect non-financial and other types of data.”


Digital transformation and its assortment of new technologies therefore represents a major opportunity for financial decision-makers. That includes digitalisation as a priority, but also Big Data, analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), not to mention artificial intelligence and virtual assistants. All these technologies have a transversal and universal goal, which is to valorize data.

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According to a study on finance departments in 2020 by the human resource consulting firm Robert Half, 80% of CFOs can already see the difficulties they will have recruiting and retaining skilled teams of co-workers, particularly people with digital profiles.

If companies were to valorize data, the status of financial professionals would thus also be valorized. With digital transformation, finance professionals change their positioning within their organisations. They are seen less as occupying back-office roles and more as people who support business efforts. Being successful with this evolution is critical in a world where data volumes are increasing at a dizzying rate.


International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that the size of the global “datasphere” (which comprises all the data that is created, collected, or duplicated around the world), represented about 33 zettabytes in 2018, compared to 10 zettabytes in 2012. The number is expected to reach 175 zettabytes by 2025.

Did you know ?

  • Suppliers call management represents 41% of an accountant’s time,
  • Payment delays management represents
    31% of an accountant’s time,
  • Average invoice processing time from intake to approval varies from 45 days for Novices to just 5 days for Innovators,
  • The cost of processing an invoice varies between £12.40 per invoice for Novices and £1.94 for Innovators, representing a profit contribution of £10.48 per invoice.
digitalisation finance

Financial data is no exception to this trend of information overproduction, notably because regulatory obligations require more information to be stored for longer periods of time, and because business intelligence and visualization tools incite organisations to increase their use of dashboards. Also, digital transformation speeds up electronic processing and increases the volume of digital data. Data remains at the heart of the process, such as invoices in electronic solutions, structured data in predictive models, labels for classifying accounting entries, product references in ERP systems, and more.


According to PwC, people in the most efficient finance departments are already spending 75% of their time analyzing data. A report by Dresner Advisory Services published in late 2019, shows that 40% of finance departments intend to acquire Big Data solutions in 2020, notably as a way to benefit from information in real-time, align their work with management needs, and make data more reliable.

























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The CFO's Role in Digital Transformation


Companies and finance departments are clearly going to continue investing massively in digital technologies, pressed by upper management. According to IDC, European companies are going to dedicate 271 billion dollars to their digital transformation in 2020.
Even though these companies may have some degree of maturity in this area, and the effort continues to move forward, there is still enormous margin for progression: one out of every two companies is still at the thinking or would-be-good-to-have stage, Gartner is confident that 67% of corporate boards will also place digital technologies and disruption at the top of their list of challenges, ahead of acquiring skills, handling regulatory issues, growth, and profitability.
Two thirds of all CFOs feel that their organisation’s future success depends on proper alignment with technologies. Similarly, in its 2020 study on finance departments, the human resource consulting firm Robert Half reveals that the top priority of CFOs is to keep up with technological progress, even more so than with regulatory issues. These priorities were the opposite in 2017: “Process automation, implementing digital solutions for corporate departments, and the need to limit management costs and risks are issues of concern for finance professionals.”
To address these issues, finance decision-makers, accountants, and auditors today have four very different roles to play: they must be sprinters, as digital transformation is a continuously accelerating process; they must be marathon runners, as they need to be able to keep up the pace with respect to data flows and multiple work projects arising from digital transformation; they must be coaches, guiding staff and business units; and they must be referees, confirming and securing decisions.
It is nothing less than mission impossible for financial decision-makers to handle all these different facets alone. Fortunately, technologies are here to facilitate and accelerate the CFO role in digital transformation. Compared to their historical role as financial decision-makers, CFOs move from a support function towards that of a value creator with predominantly technical expertise to optimize more assertive leadership within the value chain. According to the PWC study, 25% of financial directors become leaders in digital transformation thanks to their position at the convergence of all corporate functions.

The Constant Evolution of the CFO Role


Watch now this roundtable from Sage, PwC, Salesloft, Yooz and Hotwire to learn:
How CFOs can use learnings from COVID to their advantage
Why now is not the time to play it safe when it comes to innovation
Why the CFO will play a central role in driving businesses forwards
How the CFO’s relationship with technology will change in 2021
How the CFO role will evolve to take on new responsibilities
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Automation and Digital Transformation: What are the Best New Technologies for Digitalizing Your Accounting?


In addition to the four roles mentioned earlier for CFOs, there are also five other core principles. CFOs drive performance, innovate, stay connected and mobile, communicate, and create value. A range of technologies applies to each of these missions. Steering process and organisational performance leverages an increasing number of Cloud applications and, of course, digitalisation technologies such as AI and blockchain.


On the innovation side, artificial intelligence is already making headway into the finance function. Value creation is derived from a smart arrangement of technologies that feed the entire organisation. 2019 was already an intense year for finance departments and Chief Financial Officers: according to the Protiviti consulting firm, 58% of finance departments increased their budgets for acquiring data visualization solutions; a similar proportion expanded its use of Cloud-based financial applications; 56% invested more in analytical solutions; and half of all CFOs invested in robotic process automation (RPA). These investments for the future are expected to show their benefits starting in 2020.


Change Management and Digital Transformation


Digital transformation has become an inescapable reality. But as American investor Warren Buffet once said, “only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”


2020 forced digital transformation upon almost every single business unit and function specifically finance departments that have lagged behind on digital tools and initiatives for quite some time, tending to focus more generally on marketing and the client experience.


But in order to make their digital transformation a success, companies have to take into account the human factor and consider the crucial role of change management in their digital transformation. Companies that experience the greatest difficulties carrying out their digital transformation successfully are specifically those that consider digital transformation above all to be a technology project that “people will follow” (McKinsey has observed that 70% of companies fail to reach their objectives; Forrester notes 60%) (2). It would obviously be an error in judgment to count solely on automatic adoption, as we can consider that the success of a digital transformation process is only 10% based on technology tools, but 40% based on organisational adaptation and 50% on effective change management. In other words, professional expertise and soft skills (non-technical skills related to how people work) weigh heavily in the functional richness of a given technology solution, however high-performance the solution may be.

A Guide to Making Tax Digital Software and AP Automation


It was 2019 when Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) went live with the Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT initiative as part of the movement towards digitalisation in finance. The movement had a single, simple vision: upgrade the entire tax system and end the dread that businesses associated with submitting taxes. All this by 2020. However, it now feels like forever since the process started, with a global pandemic stalling progress on building the tax system of the future.

However, stalling isn’t stopping. Albeit moving slower than expected, the forced change to using compatible making tax digital software has already helped businesses. Read more to learn how Accounts Payable (AP) automation is helping the MTD process a success across the UK today.

Do Better with Bots: Digital Solutions for Financial Services


Robots are everywhere but they don’t have to replace humans; they can actually create jobs by making business more efficient. Putting into place a digital transformation will supercharge financial services, whether it be in banking or the accounts payable department of a small business. Read more about how it solutions for financial services can help speed up operations, create cost savings, drive profit, and make the work environment altogether more appealing.

Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in Finance


Robots can be found everywhere, from the visible bots zipping around warehouse, servers dodging through restaurants to the invisible, software-based bots working away in the background. But not all bots are visible.

When we look into how businesses are considering the benefits of digitalisation – specifically the benefits of robotic process automation in finance – it’s clear that an increasing number of departments are becoming more open-minded about letting these invisible software-based robots enter their offices.

Finance Digital Transformation: Is It a Change for the Better?

Organizations are taking a hard look at their operations and finding ways to become more efficient and agile. Nowhere in finance is this more evident than in the payments sector – the client-facing functions – but it’s time that the back-office caught up.  Let’s explore why finance digital transformation is a change for the better and 5 strategies on how to get there.

Using Cloud-Based Accounting Software to Streamline the Accounts Payable Process


Are you looking for a way to streamline your Accounts Payable (AP) process? Reduce costs, increase accuracy, and improve security? Look no further! Using cloud-based accounting software to streamline your Accounts Payable process may just be the answer you needed. Let’s explore this idea further, from identifying exactly what is cloud-based accounting software and how it can help save money through 9 key benefits, we’ll address why it may just be the key to future-proofing your business in today’s unpredictable environment.

The Importance of Accounting Software for Making Tax Digital


The UK government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative requires VAT-registered businesses to store VAT records and digitally submit returns via compatible accounting software. Although the original plan was for businesses to be MTD-ready by 2020, factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic, staff training, and the costs of adopting new software have resulted in delays. However, despite this, the initiative continues to move forward. And, although there are more than 560 MTD-compliant software providers available, there are several factors which should be considered when finding the right accounting software for Making Tax Digital partner.

The Benefits of Business Process Automation in Accounts Payable


In today’s fast-paced digital world, staff are under more pressure than ever to deliver, and the benefits of Business Process Automation (BPA) – greater accuracy, increased efficiency and productivity, improved customer service – are all things that can help to streamline business-critical operations and reduce errors. By automating tasks that are typically error-prone and time-consuming, BPA allows companies to free up their resources and let employees focus on other, high-value activities that can drive growth and profitability.  Ultimately, BPA can lead to significant improvements in efficiency, productivity, accuracy, and cost savings.

Your Short Guide to Inflation Accounting


Inflation accounting is a method used by organisations to adjust their financial statements to reflect the effects of inflation. There are various advantages and disadvantages as well as challenges to overcome, but when combined with automation helps organisations deal with inflation and drive transformation in their financial processes.

Embracing the Power of Finance Automation


Finance automation, often driven by advanced technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), revolutionizes financial processes by streamlining operations, reducing errors, and freeing time for strategic decision-making. Embracing finance automation empowers finance teams – especially accounting – to optimize efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure reliable financial operations. This technology – from Accounts Payable (AP) automation to expenses reimbursement and purchasing automation – enhances productivity and helps organisations navigate the evolving financial landscape, unlocking it’s potential for success.

Digitalisation in Accounting: Join the Revolution


Explore the transformative power of digitalisation in accounting. Discover how technology reshapes CFO roles, automates processes, and benefits finance professionals. Learn how a cloud-based solution can significantly improve the efficiency of your finance operations.

Digitalisation in Healthcare: Improving Patient Outcomes


Dive into the impact of digitalisation in healthcare, spurred into overdrive by the events of COVID-19. Learn about ERP, DFS, and AP automation enhancing medical operations as well as the important roles played by telemedicine and AI detection capabilities.


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