The CFO role has changed tremendously over the last few years. A recent study found that traditional skills like compliance and controllership account for less than 10 percent skills critical to success. Today, skills like general management and strategy are most important to a CFO’s success.
CFO’s must be more creative in how they formulate their strategy and measure success. Other factors important to the finance team, like efficiency and performance, will fall into place once a successful strategy is put into place.
As a CFO, part of your strategy must include technology. There are so many enterprise EPM systems out there that can improve your FP&A processes, there’s no reason to continue with solely manual processes. According to research by Oracle, two-thirds of CFOs surveyed are “technology evangelists,” leading advocates for advanced analytics and a more modern finance department.
While more CFOs understand this need for EPM technology, a survey from CFO Research found that a significant number of organizations don’t implement best practices to ensure success of their financial software. In this blog post, we’ll consider the findings from this study and the factors you should consider when implementing an EPM solution.
1. Finding a Vendor that Fits
Finding a vendor that fits well within your organization is the first step to success. Though it wasn’t clearly called out in the study, the clear vendor-client relationship was identified as a factor essential for implementation success.
You can’t have a good relationship with your EPM vendor unless it’s the right fit. There are many products and providers out there — Oracle EPM Cloud, Oracle On-Prem Hyperion, and OneStream, to name a few.
How will you know which vendor fits best with your organization? You’ll need to figure out the unique needs of your FP&A team, consider the size of your team, and if your company has a cloud initiative. It will take a lot of research that many CFOs will hand off to directors or managers, who already have full workloads.
Actionable Tip: Consider hiring an advisor to help your team choose an EPM solution. You’ll be getting a team with decades of expertise as well as plenty of implementation experience. Check out this timeline and offering guide for an EPM vendor selection.
2. Get Input from End Users
If you’re the CFO of a large organization, you don’t have to engage with every employee. But you can make sure they know what’s going on before, during, and after the implementation of your financial software.
You’ll need to ensure there’s clear communication by establishing a project manager and having team leaders communicate changes effectively. You might also consider surveying end users to see what processes they think need improvement and what functionality they would like to see from financial software.
According to the CFO Research study, 17 percent of organizations don’t make the end-user experience a critical factor in selecting and implementing financial software. Many organizations fail to adequately ensure user adoption after an implementation.
Actionable Tip: Consider customized training after your implementation is complete. Check out this white paper to see what needs to be considered before your training session.
3. Ensuring Integration with Existing Systems
The CFO Research study found that 30 percent of organizations don’t think it’s important to integrate FP&A software with other financial and nonfinancial data sources.
Data integration is key to consistency and getting the full picture of your business. Financial data is key to the entire organization and other non-financial data sources can help your team make better predictions.
This is why so many data integration tools exist, such as Oracle Financial Data Quality Management Enterprise Edition (FDMEE). You’re EPM solution should connect with ERP and any other data sources containing corporate and operational data.
Actionable Tip: Consider a data governance solution to better synchronize your data and improve data quality.
4. Invest in High-Quality Support
Outsourcing support for your financial system doesn’t always sound attractive. Most people think of outsourcing as overseas with poor communication as well as talking to someone who doesn’t intimately know your technology. It can be frustrating.
But there are teams out there who are on-shore and solely dedicated to supporting your solution. They’ll know your team members and they’ll have detailed knowledge of your technology. There are some nightmare support scenarios you’ll want to avoid, but it is possible to find your support dream team.
Actionable Tip: Use this checklist while you’re evaluating support services providers to ensure you get exactly what you need.