5 New Year's Resolutions for Your Finance Organization

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You blinked.  2015 came to a close, and 2016 is already in full swing.  Another year has passed, another just beginning.  What do we typically do?  Make resolutions, right?

It’s out with the old and in with the new.  During this time of year, it’s inevitable to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going in order to make personal resolutions – such as getting in shape, refining a skill, saving more, or spending less.  

But what about your business life and your Finance organization?  How can your team become the best of the best?  Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions for your Finance organization to consider:

1.  Make Better Use of Excel.

Let’s face it.  We all love Excel.  Excel is great for simple use cases, but when it comes to enterprise performance management (EPM) processes – such as planning, consolidations, reporting, and analysis – Excel’s limitations are clear.  The endless spreadsheet versions make it challenging to know the real truth.  The spreadsheets need to be distributed, collected, reconciled – the very nature of this process leads to errors.  It’s time to stop relying on Excel for business critical processes and work smarter with cloud-based EPM systems.  To learn more about making better use of Excel in EPM, view a recent whitepaper here

2. Embrace the Cloud – Yes, It's Secure!

Cloud-Accounting.jpgStop spending time and money on software installations and configurations.  After all, it’s 2016.   Technology has come a long way.  While legacy on-premises EPM solutions may offer useful functionality, the time, effort, and cost to maintain and upgrade these systems is high.  Cloud-based EPM systems offer the same or better functionality – at a fraction of the cost.  Wondering how secure your data is?  Cloud-based vendors invest a significant amount of time and money to ensure your data is safe.  To learn more about Host Analytics’ approach to security, privacy, and availability, check out this free whitepaper.

 3.  Become a Better Business Partner.

Getting your internal Finance processes in order is critical, but it’s also important for Finance to be a better business partner to the other lines of business you support, such as Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service.  With the right tools, such as Host Analytics Modeling, CFOs can align financial planning with operational planning and modeling.  Through effective enterprise modeling, these departments can finally plan, forecast, and model their operations and systematically link their models back to the corporate plan.  To hear what Host Analytics CEO Dave Kellogg has to say about becoming a better business partner, check out this recent blog article

 4.  Spend More Time on Strategic Analysis.

The New Year is a good time to look at how Finance spends most of its time.  How much of your time is spent collecting and aggregating data for financial reporting, budgeting, or forecasting?  If 80-90% or your time is spent collecting data and correcting errors and only 10-20% on analysis, there’s a big opportunity for improvement.  Look at where the bottlenecks are in reporting and planning, and find ways to automate as many steps as possible.  Look at ways to shift your focus from reporting on the past to analyzing the past and forecasting the future.

 To perform more strategic analysis, your organization can include external data, such as industry ratios and benchmarks, or market/consumer research information.  Analytics-based EPM gives you better insight into your organization and how you’re performing vs. the competition.  To understand more about analytics-based enterprise performance management, read Host Analytics’ point of view here.

 5.  Improve Your Ability to Attract and Retain Top Talent.

Being an efficient and successful Finance organization relies on having qualified and motivated employees.  Organizations that rely on outdated processes and older technology may have trouble retaining staff and often don’t allow existing employees to grow their skills.  With outdated technology, employees spend more time on getting the numbers right and not enough time adding value and contributing to the success of a company.  Learn more in this white paper:  Holding On to Your Top Talent: Why Infrastructure Is Key.

Download the Free White Paper

 In the 2016 New Year, resolutions should not only apply to your personal goals, but also to the goals of your Finance organization.  We all strive to be better people.  That should expand to your business life as well.  What are your organizational New Year’s resolutions?  Please share your comments.

Happy New Year and Best of Luck!

Posted by on January 14, 2016
Topics: Finance
Janette Kosior

Janette Kosior is Senior Director of Product Marketing with Host Analytics. Janette has more than 15 years of experience in the Enterprise Performance Management industry. Prior to joining Host Analytics, Janette was with Oracle where she led the Financial Close Product Management team. Prior to Oracle, Janette held various roles in product management and technical support with Hyperion Solutions. Janette has a BBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts.

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