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How CIOs can capitalize on financial transformation

How CIOs can capitalize on financial transformation 

For the heart of the business – the finance function – the relationship between the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is critical. The finance team ensures the health of the organization and has many cash flow challenges to deal with. For example, travel and expense accounts for roughly ten per cent of an organization’s budget and is considered the second-most difficult operating cost to control, so proper expense management is a crucial place to bring about financial transformation.  

To solve this challenge, and a myriad of others, the CFO and the CIO must work together to facilitate successful transformation in the workplace. CFOs need to be open to change and champion it within their team, while CIOs must be aware of existing systems and how and when they need to be updated. 

CIOs should ask their CFO these three questions to capitalize on financial transformation: 

What IT resources is the organization currently using? 

Businesses need to regularly evaluate the systems they are using to ensure they are not using outdated technology or unnecessary IT resources. Maintaining older versions of legacy systems can be expensive and drain IT resources that could be allocated elsewhere.

It could be time to adopt a new solution if the vendor announces an end of life strategy for the product or if the system is in maintenance only mode. Another indication for an upgrade is a backlog of enhancement requests. Platforms should be updating new features for users and investing in these innovations. If not, it is likely the system is outdated and there are more effective options. Businesses continuing to use outdated systems are hindering their growth by not leveraging innovative integrated solutions.

Are existing solutions providing a positive end-user experience?          

If the existing system is difficult to navigate from an administrative standpoint, then it’s time to make the switch to a more modern solution. Cloud-based solutions have the ability to streamline the experience and allow teams to move away from cumbersome spreadsheets. When it comes to tracking expenses over time, software expense solutions are an easier way to analyze trends, company spending and profit generation. Spreadsheets don’t have the capacity to notify users when someone violates an expense policy, automatically enters expense data or consolidates data into a dashboard.

User experience has become one of the most important factors as workforce demographics change. Consumerization of the workplace is essential; employees expect companies to use enterprise apps and technologies that provide the same conveniences we are used to in our personal lives. In today’s global workforce, expectations for the way work gets done have changed and businesses need to hone in on this to maintain overall employee satisfaction. 

Do current solutions capture end-to-end employee spend data? 

Companies are more likely to be compliant and mitigate fraud by using platforms that capture and aggregate all employee spend in one place. Digitizing this process decreases the risk of losing documentation and details of where and how company money is being spent. The convenience of being able to proactively monitor, report and analyze spend on one platform is both time- and cost-saving. It can also help resolve ‘leakage’ issues that exist from employees using outside travel suppliers by accurately capture spend seamlessly within employee experience. 

To truly realize the potential of digital transformation, CIOs and CFOs must work together to identify areas for growth and improvement within a business and leverage each team’s expertise to succeed.

Kevin Craig, Managing Director, SAP Concur Canada.

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