Date posted: 06/05/2024 5 min read

How agile is your finance function?

Well-implemented technology can transform the finance team into agile influencers of organisational strategy. Brought to you by Fusion5.

If your workforce shifted from a 38-hour work week to 30 hours, how would that affect sales? How might a flood in a certain region affect your production costs? And if growth means you have to spend more on outsourcing, will you meet your financial obligations this month?

Business management is an endless series of challenges requiring solutions. The better the solutions, the more successful the business.

Excellence in decision making is fuelled by high-quality information, says Philip de Harcourt, principal consultant with Fusion5, a Workday Adaptive Planning partner that helps tailor software solutions for businesses. There is nothing stopping those in finance from being providers of powerful, integrated business data, he says.

“What value do you put on a better decision in business?” de Harcourt asks. “It could be priceless. If you’re not making those decisions because you’re too busy doing something else, you’ll never see the opportunities.”

Enabling high-value work

People in finance often have the deepest insight into a business’s operations. At the same time, much of their effort is often spent on lower-value tasks, rather than high-value strategic activity. To conduct an analysis of how a change in one area might affect another, for example, they’re often left digging deep into Excel files to provide relevant information to decision makers.

“A large client of ours used to have a turnaround time of seven days for any parliamentary question around how long it might take them to do something in particular,” says Nel Botha CA, Fusion5’s practice manager – planning analytics. “We improved their planning and reporting application, and seven days became 24 hours.

“Then, when foreign exchange rates fluctuated hugely and the client had to go back to parliament and ask for more funding because everything was more expensive, they were able to calculate in a couple of hours exactly how much they needed to cover all of their cost centres.”

Members of the finance function were liberated to play a more strategic role in the organisation.

The answers are hidden in the business

Good technology isn’t about getting rid of Excel, but rather introducing greater integrity and boosting capability. Any solution you introduce should be easy to use, customised to the organisation’s needs and it should provide relevant, real-time data to the individual user.

Fusion5 works with organisations to integrate their data so the effects of any change – for instance, employing more staff, entering a new market or a boost in the budget of one particular department – are known in advance. This insight enables good decisions to be made around those changes.

“As an accountant, I like to have the answer to any business question,” de Harcourt says.

“Accountants work with numbers and there can be no ambiguity. But when it comes to planning, there are multiple possible answers. If I have those answers, I am of greater value.

“We work with businesses so that we understand their processes, then we provide the ability to evaluate different scenarios. Great decision making comes from having multiple views of the future.”

Your webinar registration could win you a free workshop

Register for Fusion5’s upcoming webinar, Master Financial Agility and Navigate Economic Shifts With Ease, and be entered into a draw to win one of five free Mine the Gap workshops, valued at $5000 each. The webinar will take place on 21 May 2024.