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Written by Mariya Zarembo
on October 23, 2018

It’s no secret that CFOs hold incredibly important roles within organisations in a variety of realms, from financial management to data analysis. Due to the significant influence that they hold over the operations of their organisation, they must possess knowledge about multiple subjects, including how to utilise technology like ERP to streamline their operations.

What are CEOs looking for?

According to a recent report released by Forbes and KPMG, it is anticipated that this influence that CFOs hold will only grow over the next three years compared to other board directors. Additionally, the report notes that, in the eyes of CEOs, the ability to enhance a company’s performance and growth is the greatest contribution of CFOs.

Despite this information, almost one-third of the CEOs that participated in this study agreed that one of their main issues with CFOs was that they were lacking expertise in new technology, particularly cloud-based ERP software. In order to overcome this complaint, CFOs must learn how to navigate the ERP sphere and understand how it can play a meaningful role in driving business strategy.

More than half of the CEOs surveyed anticipate investing in ERP or finance systems in the next three years, and just under half said they see technology investments ahead in their ‘big picture’ vision for the company. The need to simplify the integration of multiple data sources and make information readily available to all departments is a pressing need that will only become more complicated and necessary in the future.

What do CFOs need to know?

In our current technological climate, it’s important to keep up with solutions that organise information and streamline processes to retain a competitive advantage. Many companies possess multiple ERP systems that are not harmonised and, as a result, create hurdles and inconsistencies in their operations. Knowing the advantages of and technology behind a cloud-based ERP platform can aid in understanding what options are available within reach to minimise costs and improve a company’s speed and agility.

Due to the vast amount of possibilities, CFOs need to do plenty of research about which ERP solution and ERP vendor is the best fit for the company from an overarching strategic perspective. Implementing an ERP system is often complex because the changes involved are both technologically and organisationally transformative. Deployment of the system drives changes to both data and processes across departments in the organisation, which heightens the importance of change management during this shift.

Another crucial thing to note when considering and implementing ERP software is how these projects are not simply technical endeavours; they are also political, financial, structural, and social initiatives. The CFO is in a unique and critical position in which they must ensure they do not ignore or overlook any of these elements when managing these types of projects.

The CFO must balance the demands of two competing forces: the wave of innovation that has been inundating the IT landscape in recent years and the regulatory forces that require every process to be documented, controlled and secured.

With this knowledge of ERP solutions and the consideration of how they fit into an organisation’s structure and long-term goals, CFOs can ask major questions like “How will ERP help you control costs over the next five years?” and “How will an ERP solution provide you with the business transparency, reporting and compliance enablement you need?”.

What can we conclude?

CFOs have a multitude of responsibilities on their plates and recent technological developments have made knowledge of ERP software another subject to add. Based on research, CEOs are looking toward their CFOs to enhance a company’s performance and growth through whatever means necessary, including ERP software.

With careful research and preparation, CFOs can help choose the best vendor and implement the optimal ERP system for their company, while also considering how it affects the organisation in a strategic way.

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