How CFOs Can Leverage Technology to Increase Efficiency

This article was updated September 22, 2023.

The rapidly changing financial environment and unexpected market volatility are forcing many CFOs to work harder and make faster decisions than ever before. CFOs need to adopt new technology, processes, and strategies to help their organizations navigate through fast-moving times.

CFOs are deeply involved in the business, far beyond traditional finance roles. Together with other members of their leadership team, CFOs help businesses mitigate the impact of market changes and business disruptions on their operations. That includes dealing with everything from developing and engaging the right team to rethinking product and service delivery, scanning the horizon for what’s next, and much more. Balancing these priorities is the key to CFOs’ success in today’s high-stakes business environment.

Below, we outline how the demands for CFOs are evolving—and how CFOs can manage these competing demands with the help of NetSuite.

How the CFO Role Is Changing

As companies rebuild and adapt in response to market and operational impacts, the function of the finance team might change. One example is the near-constant reforecasting occurring in every now virtual boardroom. Today, the close is no longer a monthly happening, but a daily one.

With a cloud-based enterprise resource system (ERP) such as NetSuite, leadership can gain real-time insights into the business and adjust or pivot based on changing market conditions.

CFOs can also streamline their tasks and required reporting with a unified platform that automates:

  • Revenue forecasting
  • Revenue allocation, recognition, reclassification, and auditing through the rule-based event handling framework
  • Scheduling, calculation, and presentation of revenue on the financial statements
  • The continuous-close process

Mastering the continuous-close mindset and adopting adequate systems to perform these functions can help prepare finance departments to be efficient and agile.

Adopt New Requirements with Greater Ease

Technology can help companies keep up with major regulatory changes and maintain compliance. In 2021, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Codification (ASC)® Topics 606 and 842 and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 15 changed requirements for revenue recognition and leases and the disclosures required for reporting under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and international standards.

Finance departments must adopt these requirements, if they haven’t already, while still reporting results and maintaining multiple account books. It’s no small task, but it’s achievable with technology solutions that handle the heavy lifting for you. With a solution such as NetSuite Advanced Revenue Management, finance departments can automate revenue recognition processes while complying with changes in the regulatory standards.

Improve Business Agility

Having real-time visibility into key elements of the business at any given time helps CFOs make better decisions quickly to keep the business on track. With thousands of transactions occurring, things often happen so quickly that by the time the CFO catches an error, it’s too late.

Other times, an issue that needs attention is happening, and CFOs don’t know they should be monitoring it. This is particularly true when it comes to risk and control issues, like fraud and credit risk.

To address these issues, NetSuite’s Intelligent Insights can be helpful in guiding CFOs to pay attention to the key parts of their business at key moments.

For example, the CFO may be alerted to payments that consistently fall just under the amount requiring authorization. Artificial intelligence will decipher patterns that may indicate fraud—such as frequent payments like these to the same vendor—and contrast this activity with the number of vendors in the database.

Take Control of Data

The modern CFO needs to keep up with change while still delivering on core accountabilities—but it can be difficult to balance both.

In a time when change is a constant, CFOs need a system that can improve and automate workflow processes to be prepared for possible business disruptions. Many organizations have a large percentage of remote employees and need to have the tools to work seamlessly with a distributed workforce. The ability to automate key processes and keep key controls in place without sacrificing productivity is critical to the risk management profile needed for a company to succeed in today’s environment.

CFOs can lessen the burden on their teams by creating a flexible infrastructure that reacts to an ever-changing environment. Part of this means finding a platform such as NetSuite that doesn’t compromise scalability and control.

There are several considerations and ways to leverage NetSuite to facilitate users to work effectively while working remotely.

Maintain Uninterrupted Accounting and Business Processes

Pivoting to remote work is no small feat, but NetSuite has features that can make it easier. Here’s how to benefit from them:

  • Access NetSuite via a web browser, enabling your workforce to be productive on any device at any time, such as home machines or tablets, while maintaining your security and controls
  • Automate your business processes and streamline operations with built-in workflows and approvals that meet the needs and complexity of your business
  • Leverage dashboard reminders to notify users when to take action or review records necessary to complete job functions and keep your accounting processes running

Understand Your Business Trends

When you can see your trends quickly, you’re typically more empowered to find proactive solutions over reactive ones, which can translate to better efficiency and results for your business. Here’s how you can stay ahead of your trends:

  • Leverage real-time reporting as transactions are posted to see your businesses performance
  • Use dashboard key performance indicators (KPIs) to alert teams of trends that may impact business, such as sales or accounts receivable (AR) aging trends

Assign Tasks that Aren’t Part of Standard Business Workflows

Assigning tasks outside of business workflows is helpful because it makes it easier to monitor non-standard activities without disrupting normal business workflow.

This can be accomplished by creating activities to communicate and assign tasks in NetSuite. Be sure to provide due dates and priorities. For example, this could include assigning a collections team member to follow up with a customer regarding open AR or assigning period close tasks.

In addition, NetSuite has a communication tab on records that enables you to see your team and your client’s communications, without having to follow up directly with team members.

Run Finance Efficiently

While transforming and strategizing for the business, the CFO has another task: running the finance function. This involves:

  • Dealing with an ever-increasing amount of regulations
  • Complying with tax laws
  • Maintaining internal controls
  • Executing corporate governance
  • Reporting information that is accurate, actionable, and readily available

The right software could make managing these myriad tasks simpler.

Consider software companies that have experience with organizations across industries, thus helping to create best practices for global business management, corporate governance, and controls directly into its offerings. CFOs also need to get information into the hands of decision-makers quickly and accurately. The previous standard of generating reports, often through Excel spreadsheets, no longer works.

Instead, a system such as NetSuite could help put actionable business intelligence in the hands of decision-makers in real-time across all types of devices.

We’re Here to Help

To learn more about NetSuite or how it could streamline your operations, contact your Moss Adams professional. As a NetSuite solution provider, Moss Adams delivers industry-specific insight and technical resources to streamline your selection and implementation processes, while providing ongoing support.

Additional Resources

About NetSuite

From fast-growing startups to global enterprises, NetSuite powers businesses across a variety of industries. NetSuite provides cloud financials, customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce, human capital management (HCM), and professional services automation management for all organizations from fast-growing midsize companies to large global organizations. Additionally, each component of NetSuite is modular, enabling it to be deployed and integrated with existing investments as required.

With more than 36,000 customers running NetSuite worldwide and dependent territories, some of the world's most innovative organizations trust NetSuite and take their financial and operational processes to the cloud.

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