The role of the CFO in a post-pandemic world has become more critical than ever. Today’s CFOs are tasked with leading the way for new operational efficiencies as well as adapting to sudden differences in how and where employees work. When looking to enact meaningful change, CFOs generally lag behind their IT counterparts when it comes to harnessing automation software – sometimes by decades. This can be remedied by taking time to understand the potential of new technology and how it can simultaneously generate cash flow, resolve organizational challenges, and streamline efficiencies.
The evolution of finance automation can be easily broken into three stages: electronic reporting (Finance 1.0), basic automation (Finance 2.0), and full automation (Future Finance). Finance 1.0 harkens back to the days of mainframe computers, where data was moved from paper into databases and invoices were queued up for batch processing. Sometimes these invoices were processed as batch jobs, locking out new transactions and requiring manual queue management to make sense of the mainframe queuing mechanisms. This became a multibillion-dollar industry. Many finance teams are still using these systems while spending their days in front of a green screen.