Digital Transformation and the risks to Finance

November 12, 2018

Market leader EY recently released a report highlighting that as financial businesses move towards digital they need to transform their risk management processes.

Digital Transformation

EY explains that determining business outcomes such as company profits are becoming difficult to control, particularly with pressure from governments, regulators and other stakeholder groups.

Digital risk management is now an essential focus for businesses analysing the risks associated with the process of digital transformation across an entire business and testing and launching new digital strategies to manage risk. Risk managers are experiencing several challenges related to digitalising risk management and controlling risks to an entire business as it becomes more digitally-minded.

Financial companies are experiencing more disruption and as a result, there is a growing awareness of the impact of technology on businesses. Technology is utilised throughout any financial services company, so we are experiencing a greater focus on awareness and education. Business is focusing on professionals who have strong backgrounds in technology and implementing the desired skills for this transformation. The EY report explains that in the near future companies will need to be prepared for constant change, rather than periodic changes. EY emphasises that businesses will thrive if they can embed change into their business model and hire and retain talent who can prosper in this type of environment.

Partnering up to tackle digital disruption

Christian Rast, the global head of tech and knowledge at leading auditing company KPMG recently highlighted that only a third of executives actually trust their technological and analytics capabilities. Speaking at the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Japan, Rast explained that the low figure was quite concerning, considering how new technology is transforming industries.

Rast highlights that the digital transformation of a business is not a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’, stressing that further changes are inevitable. Rast has suggested that one method to deal with this trust, or lack of, that may hinder businesses adopting digital practices is to collaborate with others. In other words, Rast is implying that businesses shouldn’t be focused on ‘winning the race’ without any support.

Rast refers directly to KPMG and how the business is by no means free of potential disruption, explaining that the company is working with nearly 5,000 startups worldwide to deliver new solutions for clients. Rast highlights the significant value of digital transformation will bring to customers, explaining that the process should not just focus on technology but an entire change of culture.

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Finance Transformation in a digital world – An Insight report from Deloitte

November 12, 2018

The latest financial industry report by Deloitte referred to as the ‘Crunch Time V Finance 2025’ report investigates the digital transformation of the finance industry.

Deloitte Finance Future

Deloitte explains that technologies applicable to the finance sector are available and are continuing to progress. There is a range of real-time case studies of new digital technology being applied to business functions and businesses can use and implement these practices into their own company. The needs of businesses are constantly changing and the rate of innovation continues to rapidly progress.

Leaders in the finance industry are exploring the possibilities available with applying different technologies to the future business activities. Finance professionals are asking how finance activities will be performed and who will perform them. Furthermore finance leaders are researching how finance activities can contribute further to the success of a company.

Deloitte explains their predictions for the finance industry.


Finance Factory

Deloitte suggests that transactions will be touchless as the process of automation and blockchain extend further into the finance market. Further progression within cloud-based ERP and automation will develop the potential to simplify processes and reduce the need for human intervention. Blockchain will only accelerate this transition and enhance the potential of humans to add potential value to this process.

The Role of Finance

With further automation, Deloitte believes finance will ‘double down’ on overall company insights and services. Deloitte explains the resources that will continue to be controlled within finance will depend on their ability to provide value. This will require detailed insights and a high level of customer services. Deloitte suggests that some finance businesses will transform into specialist business service centres.


Finance Cycles

Deloitte explains that finance processes will eventually be performed in real-time. With reports and forecasts being produced automatically on demand, traditional cycles will become of less importance. Finance businesses will still require to produce regular reports, but other external investors will likely request frequent performance reports. Leading businesses will operate in a new manner, shifting away from conventional monthly or quarterly forecasts, to continuous real-time reporting.


Self Service

Self-service is predicted to become more commonplace which may cause some concerns within the finance sector. There are, however, many business members who don’t require support when it comes to basic finance procedures. Deloitte believes that simple activities from budget queries to report production will become automated. Over time, smart systems will be capable of understanding the types of business information required by individuals and be capable of delivering that information whenever required. Deloitte suggests that over time, standard data sheets will be converted to visually appealing information that is both informative and accessible to customers.


Operating Model

New service models will continue to develop as robots and algorithms create a more diverse financial industry i.e. the growth of freelance workers. Automation offers a new system for controlling costs. Finance companies will have the opportunity to reassess how their business is organised, where work is carried out and what processes no longer need human involvement.


Enterprise Resource Planning

Deloitte believes that financial systems and microservices will disrupt traditional ERP. ERP vendors are already integrating digital technologies like automation and blockchain into their products. Deloitte believes there will be a shift within the ERP arena as new specialist applications and microservices emerge and integrate with ERP platforms. As more businesses move towards Cloud-based ERP, businesses will become more standardised, Instead of developing customised systems, businesses will acquire what services they require from an emerging marketplace of new applications and microservices. Finance will be focused on how these emerging services work together to improve processes and create new insights. Technology is getting more intelligent and is becoming more integrated into ERP platforms without human intervention. Finance professionals will focus on utilising applications to generate the information they require to enable smarter and quicker decisions.



The development of APIs will create data standardisation, but Deloitte believes this is insufficient, suggesting that many companies will find it difficult to manage their data store. There are few businesses that are putting the effort in to align and integrate their data store now, which means they won’t be capable of capturing the full potential of digital transformation. Automation will make the process of handling data simpler, but Deloitte believes it will continue to be a complex task.

Workforce and Workplace

Finance systems are progressing rapidly leading to changes in the way employees carry out their activities. More focus is now being placed on data scientists and business analysts, which will mean a radical transformation for many financial companies. Deloitte recommends that new hires should represent future activities. Beyond the technical expertise, key qualities will be focused on strong customer service skills, flexibility and collaboration skills.


There are still many questions to be answered in regards to the future of for the Finance industry. Industry experts believe there needs to be radical changes and getting the right staff and technology in place to utilise the potential benefits of the upcoming digital transformation is essential. There is no doubt that whatever happens in the future, automation patterns will continue to accelerate and expand due to the recognised cost benefits of this process. The future holds great potential for finance businesses that are seeking to develop more value for the companies they support. If Finance can deliver higher qualities of information, within a more efficient timescale, they are likely to succeed in the near future.


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Why implementing new finance systems can lead to failure…and the best way to avoid it

November 12, 2018

Implementing a new finance system is a common module of the overall process of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

Enterprise Resource Planning

An ERP system connects a business and provides the platform for a management team to understand the processes with customers, suppliers and their employees. Implementing a finance system can support the company by enhancing the management of their resources, reduce costs and manage other competitor businesses. Despite having a critical role in a business implementing financial systems and general ERP upgrades can quite often result in failures and disruption to a business.

According to a recent industry report, nearly 30% of ERP implementations fail to succeed half of the intended benefits to a company. There are several notable cases that have gained significant attention to highlight this figure, including how the US Navy reportedly spent over $1 billion on several varying ERP systems, all of which have failed to work. The string of problems attached to implementing a new finance system is generally driven by the complex nature of the process of implementation and the general natures of the business activities they intend to automate. Codex Recruitment explores the main reasons that a new finance system and ERP implementation can fail and offers advice to overcome these potential pitfalls.


Why is your business implementing a new system?

Quite often the first challenge is determining whether the implementation of a new system is really necessary. Many businesses will decide that their existing systems are below par and that reporting, integration and overall efficiency issues are directly related to the software they are using. With this in mind, businesses will choose to transfer to an alternative system, a costly and potentially risky process which may be avoided by a relatively simple procedure of improving the existing service. The reimplementation of existing software will generally be far more cost effective than a complete switch to another vendor.


Has your business clearly defined its goals?

If your business is determined to implement a new system then a clearly defined goal is critical. Quite often, a combination of unclear classification of the problems, the overall outcome or financial implications of the project can result in issues further down the line. A strong understanding of the goal, the business processes, financial benefits and clear timescales will ensure your business has a defined target.


Has your business created a detailed plan?

A thorough plan is essential to succeed in implement new services. It may be a fairly obvious point, but more often than not, plans can be unrealistic or lack specific details. Businesses may create plans that lack information of all the specific requirements and which people are going to be working in each area. Until a good plan is in place, your business won’t truly understand the project timescale and associated costs. Failing to clarify your business requirements at an early stage can result in confusion further down the line. In order to rectify this potential challenge, your business should collaborate with a specific team to perform a detailed audit of your systems and business activities. This process will enable your business to highlight specific ‘pain-points’ and then determine which solution will meet your needs.


Regular Process Management

It is quite clear that any transformation of finance systems requires a dedicated and experienced manager. Quite often, businesses will implement this management role as an additional sub-task to the existing duties of project managers. In reality, this transformation requires an active leader, focused and continually monitoring the overall process. In order for this to be effective in a business, it is essential that the entire company understand the reasons for this implementation and the strategy behind the project. Implementing a new system will have an impact on most areas of a business so it’s critical to communicate the impacts it will have on the business and how it will benefit from applying the new system. Without developing a clear understanding, there is the potential of resistance to change, or particular departments not applying the required resources of commitment to the project.


Understanding what resources are required

A typical error involved with implementing new systems is not understanding the resources required to effectively complete the project. Having a clear idea of the time commitment required from specific teams in the business is a common oversight. As mentioned before, creating a clear plan of the specific duration, skills and quantity of resources required is vital for successful implementation.


Relying on your business consultant

Most transformation processes will involve utilising the resources of expert consultants. There is a danger that this can result in a business relying on the skills of a consultant. Your business needs to ensure it continues to control the main business decisions and have a clearly structured plan to directly transfer key information from the consultant to your internal team.

Customising your business finance system

Any customisation for a business system will add potential risk, time and costs to a project. Despite the potential risks and incurred costs with customisation, many businesses find it tricky to manage the number of customisations within a particular project. Leading business Gartner, PwC and Deloitte believe that customisation is a key area of technical risk within ERP implementation. A business can avoid added customisation by selecting a system that specifically meets their requirement. Industry specialists suggest seeking a solution that meets at least 80% of your requirements, leaving a solution that can include bespoke customisations to meet your remaining needs. Furthermore, finding a partner that has proven working knowledge using your selected platform is recommended.

Providing on the job training

An average lifespan of an ERP system is approximately 10 years, which mean that most employees within a business would have experienced at least one transformation within their career. Project leaders should ideally have experience of implementing your chosen system. Having an experienced internal member on the team is a significant benefit to working with an outside consultant or directly with your chosen vendor.

Has your business done sufficient testing?

The main purpose of testing an ERP project is to ensure the system meets your requirements and generates the output required. A reduction is testing may result in selecting a system that lacks important functions. It is essential when selecting a potential partner that your implement proper due diligence. Improper selection can lead to a process that can experience difficulties and additional costs. Due diligence will generally involve gaining a clear understanding of how a vendor has managed potential challenges and details on their services, support and training.

Providing sufficient user training

Modern systems are being utilised by more and more members of a business, but management shouldn’t rush to start using new systems without providing sufficient training. Training members of staff to an adequate level for larger companies is not a simple task and leaving training to the end of a project can result in users lacking sufficient information on how to effectively use a new system and understand the benefits. According to industry specialists, a lack of sufficient training is one of the main reason ERP projects fail. Ideally, your business will have a team of internal and external leaders with experience of implementing new systems several times. Your business should implement a detailed training plan that intends to share and distribute the required knowledge from consultants to the internal business team. Training hundreds or thousands of people is not a simple task and a business needs to prepare enough time to get used to a system before activated.

If your business is considering implementing a new finance system and wants to avoid these common challenges then get in touch with the Codex team.

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