Any CFO will tell you that strong accounting and finance systems are the backbone of a successful business. Used in the right way, they can streamline processes, reduce paperwork, and even deliver tangible savings.
Despite this, recent research from Barclaycard revealed that over half of finance leaders (51%) are frustrated that their accounting software is not intuitive enough.
Today’s CFOs have an increasing responsibility for optimising their business and driving growth, so any software that isn’t up to scratch could be having a detrimental impact on their bottom line.
Don’t ignore the back end
As businesses evolve and adapt, it’s not uncommon to prioritise investment in slick customer-facing front ends, rather than best-in-class fiance systems. This is especially true if the business is a patchwork of smaller organisations that have merged together over the years – in situations like that, the task of upgrading to a new finance platform can seem daunting, with many businesses panicking as soon as they lift the lid to see how much effort is required.
However, forward-thinking CFOs must take the time to consider the benefits of investing in their finance systems, as well as the risks of not doing so. In light of this, Barclaycard recently carried out research to explore how today’s CFOs feel about their accounting systems.
The study revealed that over half of finance leaders believe their accounting systems are not as intuitive as they need them to be, and more than one in five (22%) say their systems are out of date. This can often result in missing out on crucial functionality that can drive tangible savings, such as being able to take advantage of early payment discounts (pre-agreed discounts for paying suppliers earlier than their standard payment terms).
At the same time, CFOs recognise the need to balance what their software can do with how easy it is to use, with usability actually winning out as the bigger priority; almost three quarters (73%) believe it’s better to invest in technology that is easier to use than something with more advanced functionality.
Get rid of the swivel chair
Another common frustration centred around what we refer to as ‘swivel chair’ models, where staff need to enter data into one system, and then manually ‘swivel round’ and copy and paste that data somewhere else. This was demonstrated by the fact that digitisation, automation and integration all featured high on CFOs’ wish lists for their next system upgrade.
One area that CFOs can cut out the ‘swivel chair’ is the gap between Procurement and Accounts Payable – rather than running the two systems in silos, CFOs should look to integrate payments directly into their procurement platform, to deliver a seamless, end-to-end procurement experience. This would enable the business to reconcile payments automatically, which saves time and effort, and also to pay suppliers much earlier in the procurement cycle, which improves supplier relationships.
Switching software isn’t always simple
However, deploying a new solution isn’t simply a question of money. Just finding the right software can be a significant barrier – with so many solutions out there, the desire to understand all the available systems can lead to CFOs feeling overwhelmed. In fact, three quarters (77%) stated that they lack the time and resources to assess all the options in order find the most appropriate solution.
Tied to this, CFOs need to feel confident that they’ve made the right choice before investing, with 77% agreeing that it’s better to delay investing in a new system rather than deploying the wrong ‘quick fix’.
Finally, corporate culture can play a major role, with 40% citing ‘resistance to change’ as one of the biggest reasons why they hadn’t updated their finance software in the past five years.
Boost your bottom line
The latest innovations in B2B payments, such as integrating payments directly into the procurement journey, can save finance teams significant time and effort, and even contribute towards a business’ bottom line.
Working with a trusted payments provider can help a business to address their pain points and remove friction from their processes, helping them to stay one step ahead of the competition.