The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all businesses to adapt or die. Whether that be creating a more robust cybersecurity measures, embracing digital transformation or implementing a more flex work environment for employees. For Gerhard Hartman, VP for Medium Business at Sage Africa & Middle East, it showed how even the most agile and best-prepared business’s plans and finances could be thrown into disarray. It is why Hartman and his organisation are seeing a new trend among chief financial officers (CFOs).
To that end Sage is seeing far more CFOs investing in modernising of financial platforms, with the pandemic serving as the driver for doing so.
“Unlike some enterprises with modern systems in place, companies with archaic systems lacked real-time visibility into business finances. For many, the result was hours spent generating reports and redoing budgets and forecasts to cater to the pandemic’s impact – often, based on outdated information,” highlights Hartman.
“A robust, modern finance platform is key as we’re living in a volatile world and COVID will not be the last event or trend to upset the apple cart. Finance leaders want to be agile so they can steer their businesses through the next disruption – be it another financial crisis, pandemic, or the impact of new technologies and competition on their core businesses,” he emphasises.
In terms of other motivators driving these investments by CFOs, Sage has pinpointed five in particular, based on what it has seen in the market to date:
- “It’s key to meeting the finance department’s goals in a changing world.
- The burdens of compliance are becoming heavier.
- The pressure to do more with less is growing.
- Eliminating errors are high on the agenda.
- Modern platforms facilitate better relationships with the rest of the business.”
While the reasons why are easy to see now that the pandemic has placed a spotlight on areas a business needs to work on, choosing a modern finance platform is not as easy as it seems.
Naturally Hartman and co. will punt some of the offerings that Sage has available, but he also explains what businesses should be on the lookout for.
“Finance leaders will be looking for cloud financial management systems that include features such as automation for efficient financial operations and sophisticated visibility for real-time decision making,” he notes.
“For those in mid-sized and larger enterprises, key features include multi-dimensional accounting and an extensible, scalable platform that allows them to add features and users as they grow. Also critical are efficient and cost-effective implementation, hands-free security backups and disaster recovery, and low cost of ownership,” adds Hartman.
Providing a watershed moment on a global scale, the pandemic has asked questions of businesses they have long ignored, or simply did not have the answers to. For Hartman, the time is now for CFOs to make the right investments to be better prepared should another watershed moment arrive.
“For finance leaders, having a modern cloud-based solution will equip them with the right digital tools to drive greater agility and improved decision making in the years to come,” he concludes.