data management

Building Astute Data Management

Due to the increased reliance on data analytics to drive initiatives and achieve business objectives, the concerns regarding data protection and ensuring its reliability is well substantiated. Additionally, many organizations still struggle with how to value and manage their data.  Take a look at the actions required to get the data management results you need.

Value the Difference Between Data and Information

From revenue and expenses to inventory and consumer experience, the accumulation of numbers can be mined for information. That process leads to insights that ultimately affect work processes, vendor relationships, hiring procedures, and customer interactions.

Use Strategic Thinking to Select Data Systems Storage

Ask well-informed questions to design data management systems. This requires strategic thinking. Call on top data analytics talent to pore over data. Equip this analyst with your management team’s top organizational challenges, financial and otherwise. This will lead to:

  • Selection of data queries to create new intersections of information.
  • The relationship between various data sets can lead to uniquely configured storage systems. Some may be maintained on the cloud whereas discreet data may be locally stored.

Consider the Benefits of Data Project Management

Move to a project management approach for data to assure your organizational information has the breadth and depth required for astute planning. A data project manager will:

  • Bring diverse departments together to make overall data management decisions.
  • Identify software and data storage systems required for sophisticated information production.
  • Articulate data storage, retrieval, and information outcomes for management.
  • Be responsive to leadership’s inquiries related to data management, information analysis, and prospective business decisions.

Build Data Management Human Resources Capacity

Business size and finance team composition can determine your organization’s readiness to adapt to new data management systems. High performers may need education and backing to upskill to project management capacity. Consider the benefits of contracting with consultants or bringing on interim expertise to:

  • Consult with leaders and managers to initiate the data management design process.
  • Mentor and participate in training current staff for expanded roles and responsibilities.


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finance departments

Building Digitally Astute Finance Departments

As the digital age expands in breadth and depth, CFOs are facing multiple challenges within accounting and finance departments. Low unemployment rates compound the growing need for finance professionals who have or are prepared to develop advanced digital skills. Despite these challenges, CFOs can realize success by reconfiguring the labor model used for financial functions.

Review the Drivers of Digital Transformation

There are various factors at play that are creating rapid digital growth. Advances in technology, and the pace at which they occur is certainly one.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions.
  • Regulations across sectors from health and education to manufacturing and entertainment, require sophisticated tracking to assure compliance.
  • There is increased awareness that integration of systems across departments improves productivity, customer satisfaction, and the bottom line.
  • Variations in what different generations expect from employers are affecting work policies and processes.

Effective Labor Adjustments for CFOs

Not surprisingly, there are elements of a revised labor model that CFOs have already put in place.  This is especially true for finance and accounting departments as they are integral across business functions. These elements include:

  • Periodic use of external expert teams to quickly upgrade systems amidst rapid change.
  • Adoption of cloud computing capabilities that allow remote access to critical information at a moment’s notice.
  • Use of role-specific businesses for aspects of human resource management. This includes experts in the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding of employees with highly sought, critical abilities.
  • Use of consultants, contractors, and freelancers to fulfill essential functions, either temporarily or as an ongoing practice.
  • Upskilling high-performing staff to lead ERP systems upgrades.
  • Incorporating continuous on-the-job learning, especially for IT and finance and accounting staff.

Decide Your Next Steps

As CFOs  meet with their finance departments to review their greatest current challenges, they should also make time to forecast those on the horizon. Doing so will allow them to decide where best to begin. Many organizations are initially turning to external finance and accounting firms to recruit and onboard people with digital transformation expertise.

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erp upgrade

Now is the Time for an ERP Upgrade

Is your business keeping pace with current ERP upgrades? Finance and accounting firms are reviewing their level of efficiency to determine when to upgrade their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.  Many managers think of an ERP upgrade as a headache. However, if done correctly, they can be opportunities to streamline the processes that lead to efficiencies and bottom-line improvements.

Assess Data Availability and Security

Use of the cloud and security improvements are offering more businesses ready access to data, combined with protections. Assess your current system’s ability to:

  • Provide employees with access to critical functions whether they are onsite or working remotely.
  • Keep pace with cybersecurity threats and updated protections.
  • Respond nimbly to natural and human-caused disasters that interrupt business functions.
  • Readily adjust to reporting requirements and compliance inquiries.

Consider the value of learning more about an ERP upgrade if your response to any of the above points is “no” or “slow.”

Look into Productivity and Ease of Use

Today’s high-performing organizations demand software systems that provide equal information access across departments. Finance and accounting, procurements, production, and quality assurance mechanisms need access to data for efficient management. Invite team members to offer honest input about these factors:

  • Points of slow productivity.
  • Data that cannot be readily and evenly accessed across departments.
  • Known, suspected, or possible security breaches.
  • Systems that need upgrades to adhere to reporting requirements and compliance matters.
  • Challenges fully integrating information, such as finance or human resources, across departments.
  • Elements of the current system that work well throughout the business.

Decide if Your Preferred ERP System Will Carry You into the Future

An ERP upgrade is a complex process requiring anticipation of the conversion’s impact on current functioning. At the same time, it is critical to project your organization’s growth potential to assure the upgrade has the capacity to meet future ERP needs. Other points to consider are:

  • If a hybrid system best suits your business, enabling you to keep financial data stored in-house rather than on the cloud.
  • Planning for staff training and interruption of production for the ERP upgrade.
  • Financial considerations, including long-term gains because of improved productivity.


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innovative finance thinking

Stimulating Innovative Finance Thinking

Some believe that innovative thinking is reserved for the creative few. The truth is, most people have a creative streak. The trick is learning how to tap into that creativity.  Innovative finance thinking is behind creative innovations such as ATMs and PayPal.  As accounting professionals spend less time on mundane, repetitive tasks they have more time to work on their creative streaks.  What innovative finance ideas is your business likely to develop?

Below are tips to spark innovative finance thinking in your financial professionals

Weigh the Benefits of Innovative Finance Thinking

Buy-in for becoming an actively creative organization begins at the top. Where do you stand on these points?

  • Most executives describe innovation as being linked with their growth strategy.
  • Companies that value fresh ideas realize greater growth and profits.
  • Be realistic about the rate of innovation success.

Time is of the Essence for Creativity

Sparks of insight and invention often emerge in quiet moments or during time on the trail. Your staff needs time to let flashes of creativity emerge. Steps to take include:

  • Offering employees free time to promote novel thinking. Let them know the amount of time per day or week without placing limitations such as where or when.
  • Checking in with finance staff about the effects of free time on their thinking process.
  • Keeping track of what you are learning about the relationship of free time and novel idea generation.

Create Collaboration and Cooperation

  • Foster inventive success by linking innovation with your overall business strategy.
  • Promote an atmosphere for collaborative thinking and cooperative action.
    • Ideas generated by other departments may prompt financial innovation.
    • Or, other departments’ challenges may be addressed by finance solutions.
  • Break down barriers that limit cross-departmental relationships and information exchange.

Make Space for Inventiveness

Create spaces that are inviting for colleagues to collaborate or step away from their usual work environments. An atmosphere of relaxation with natural light and plants fosters the fresh air that stimulates clear, creative thinking.

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financial systems upgrade

Financial Systems: Upgrade Success

Replacing outdated financial systems with updated solutions has many benefits – better efficiency, increased productivity and faster growth. To ensure your financial systems upgrade is successful, you need to have a clear road-map.  A smooth financial systems upgrade depends on several key factors, including strategic planning, cooperation, budgeting and training.

Follow these steps for a successful financial system upgrade.

Assess Trends and Financial System Capacity

Assess current and anticipated trends for your business sector. Inquiries to make of accounting, financial, and department managers include:

  • Have glitches occurred with internal and external financial systems communications?
  • Are current software systems keeping up with all departmental needs?
  • How well do digital systems communicate between departments?
  • What regulatory and compliance issues need to be factored into the upgrade?
  • What digital needs are anticipated for growth or market expansion within the next two to five years?

Evaluate Your Team’s Skills and Interest

System upgrades affect human resource capacity as well as digital and technical responsiveness. Assure that your team is ready to take on the demands and benefits of growth by evaluating:

  • The relationships between key stakeholders.
  • Responsiveness for working with financial systems consulting firms.
  • The overall enthusiasm for learning, advanced skills, and growth potential.
  • Staff with the skills and interest in assuming upgrade leadership.
  • Suggestions for minimizing disruption during the systems upgrade.

Conduct a Review of Financial Security

As with many business plans, dollars factor into fulfillment. Conduct a review of your organization’s past, present, and anticipated liquidity to determine:

  • If revenue will be progressively available for fully implementing the financial systems upgrade.
  • Related expenses such as staff training, consultant services, and digital upgrades needed in associated departments.
  • If cybersecurity threats place your company and its customers at risk.

Plan  Financial Systems Upgrade Based on Your Assessment

Use the assessment information to plan the financial systems upgrade roll-out by:

  • Involving the primary stakeholders in planning.
  • Holding regular systems upgrade meetings.
  • Keeping staff updated about progress via email.
  • Bringing external consultants on-board as indicated.
  • Assuring that staffing levels meet demand.
  • Addressing concerns immediately.
  • Demonstrating gratitude to staff as the process unfolds.

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