Over the course of the last few years, financial institutions have needed to contend with an increasingly unpredictable business landscape. New challenges, trends, and other changes arise and demand to be responded to at a faster pace than ever before, frequently on a day-to-day basis. Organizations also grapple with ever-evolving demands from the market, regulators, and customers. Among such demands are more detailed documentation and reporting, more personalized client interaction, more digital-based services, among others.

It’s more important than ever for business leaders to embrace technological innovation in the interest of driving their profitability and staying a step ahead of competitors. In particular, pursuing more integrated finance operations and processes can help an organization boost productivity, enhance data security and compliance, and fuel bolder and more strategic decision-making across the entire company.

The specific modernization initiatives an organization should pursue will naturally vary according to its goals and current financial maturity. There are, however, a few courses of action that all organizations should prioritize in order to reap the full benefits of finance transformation. The following are key steps for any company seeking to adopt a more contemporary approach to finance:

Integrate finance with other essential operations

Many finance organizations are bogged down by their continual reliance on legacy systems that are based primarily on manual reporting processes and siloed operations. Under such systems, interdepartmental coordination can be labour-intensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, data gaps and inconsistencies arising from fragmented operations and the use of disparate reporting tools can significantly hamper organizational decision-making. 

Integrate finance with your company’s risk, treasury, and performance management sectors to create a single data model that all major parties across the enterprise can reference. You can then use this data model to drive more streamlined and therefore more successful analytics in key areas, such as risk assessment and mitigation, revenue management, and customer analysis. Working from a unified perspective and source of information will thus enable the generation of more meaningful business insights.

Take advantage of new technologies

Conversations involving emerging technology, its potential for integration with existing systems, and customer demand for greater digitization abound in the world of business today. Clients and investors alike are looking to throw their support behind financial institutions and other companies that make use of the fastest, most intelligent, and most advanced technologies. Likewise, companies are well aware of the many ways that innovation can improve their operations and generate greater profits.

Working toward technological innovation in an intelligent way involves first identifying your organization’s needs and priorities clearly. Determine your “pain points”—procedures and operations that are not working optimally and could use improvement. It’s likewise necessary to consider how much your organization is willing to allocate for IT investment. Once you have a clear sense of what your company-specific needs and how much it is willing to spend, you can then begin exploring available software and hardware solutions to find the best fit.

Automate regulatory reporting for seamless compliance

Keeping pace with ever-changing regulatory demands is one of the biggest challenges faced by financial institutions everywhere. Complying with regulatory requirements frequently involves working with complicated governance frameworks, as well as finding ways to enhance documentation, data tracking, and reporting capabilities. The growing demand for increasingly detailed reports in greater quantities cannot simply be addressed by hiring new staff.

If improving and supporting compliance is one of your organization’s modernization goals, numerous digital solutions can help you get there. The best finance transformation software will be programmed to keep itself up-to-date on current regulatory mandates and synchronize its reporting functions with relevant performance and financial measures. Automated reporting also ensures the quick and secure collection of high-quality data that your organization will be able to use across multiple requirements.

Prioritize profitability when exploring automation options

Manual processes of information-gathering, data entry, and computing are known to be slow, labour-intensive, costly, and highly prone to error. Automating these processes has been shown to cut all of these costs to the company by a large margin. In the process, automation frees financial professionals to focus on the more complex work of analyzing the company’s current operations and customer base and identifying opportunities to drive profit upward. 

The right software will, for instance, be able to consolidate high volumes of daily client records across multiple data sources into a single data model. The software can then use this information to measure profitability, monitor the performance of individual business units, assess risk and make recommendations for risk management, and other essential functions. So supported by this sophisticated technological infrastructure, employees and executives will be well-positioned to devise strategies for working toward sustainable growth.

Contemporary business environments demand that financial professionals shift from being simple number-crunchers to well-informed advisors that provide the rest of the company with meaningful and actionable insights. It’s equally necessary, then, for companies to harness financial technology that is well-equipped to grow and evolve alongside their business. Taking strategic steps toward modernization will in turn enable companies to contend ably with current challenges and achieve their full potential.