The Post-Modern CFO’s Secret Weapon: A Business Systems Team

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In a relatively short period of time, CFOs have gone from focusing primarily on financials and how they drive company strategy to being responsible for identifying and investing in technology that underpins that entire strategy. The technology landscape has also changed with the number of available connected finance tools growing every day.

On a recent Tesorio webinar, Driving Growth Through Cash Flow & Working Capital Management, we identified over a dozen finance functions that can be digitized today through emerging technology, including:

  • Cash flow performance
  • Procure to pay
  • Contract management
  • Purchasing
  • Budgeting and planning
  • Reporting
  • Data management
  • Month-end close
  • Sales tax
  • Compensation and payroll
  • Payments
  • SaaS billing
  • Banking

And that’s just the finance tech stack. There’s a growing list of optimization tools available for every other company division.

So, how is a CFO whose education and expertise are not tech oriented supposed to navigate this landscape? Sarah Spoja, the CFO of Tipalti, points out that CFOs at enterprise-grade companies have armies of engineers to help them, but that’s not the case for CFOs at mid-market, high-growth companies—even though they endure the same pain. That’s why it’s time for the latter CFOs to consider developing business systems teams of their own.

Four Reasons Why the CFO Needs an In-House Business Systems Team

While many mid-market CFOs rely on outside consultants to help them with technology decisions and implementations, that approach often leads to spotty results and high costs, which bolsters this case for an in-house business systems team:

  • Intimate company knowledge: Even if new to the company, the team benefits from an insider’s view and unfettered access to employees who can explain the various pain points and disconnects within company processes. Plus, such a team is always accessible to the CFO seeking guidance and it’s only dedicated to one client—the company that employs it.
  • Biggest bang for company bucks: Technology budget dollars are never unlimited and frequently scarce. An in-house team can identify the broken process having the biggest negative effect on productivity, investigate available digital solutions, and identify the one that covers enough volume and depth of the problem to extract the most value out of your ERP system and provide tangible and sustainable progress.
  • Disappointment eliminator: Greg Henry, the CFO of Couchbase, calls for an intentional roadmap for digitizing and optimizing functions. Otherwise, you’re likely to quickly outgrow today’s supposed uber solution because it doesn’t allow for tomorrow’s growth or evolution. An in-house team can keep you from making such hasty or unwise technology investments.
  • Contingency planning: Jeff Epstein, the former CFO of Oracle, identifies another glaring reason why this team makes sense: It can proactively identify and implement technology that will enable your company to successfully navigate unexpected events like an unprecedented pandemic before they occur.

Start Small and Build

In the mid-market, you don’t need a full army, just a small elite force. Start with a tech leader and build from there by utilizing additional tech and finance experts who can help turbo charge the impact digital technology—such as Tesorio’s Cash Flow Direct—can have on your company.

Want to find out more about how strategic leaders are transforming financial operations? Download the Executive Summary: CFOs Drive Business Value from a recent Tesorio and Tipalti survey.