Priorities for investment in finance teams in 2023

February 15, 2023

As this year starts to accelerate, finance leaders are reconsidering their growing list of priorities, which likely focuses heavily on increasing efficiency and data protection. According to a recent survey of UK finance leaders, the key priorities for finance teams over the coming year include cybersecurity (44%), Cloud and SaaS technologies (42%) and big data analytics (29%). 

Automation software business Yooz explains that finance leaders prioritise cyber, cloud and big data because, in this digital age, these are the three core sections for effective and secure financial management. All three provide businesses with improved financial visibility but they enable the ability to manage and store large volumes of critical data, working as a security basepoint for business and client information. The mistaken release of sensitive details, the consequential damage to reputation and the need for excessive paperwork can be avoided by implementing these processes. Here are some of the focus investment areas for finance teams in 2023 and why now is the time to prioritise them.

Cybersecurity Cyber-attacks are a growing concern for all businesses in every industry. Victims of cybercrime in the last year include major organisations such as Microsoft, the Red Cross and Cambridge Water, all representing a considerable increase in cyber attacks since the previous year. A recent study suggested that in the UK, over 80% of companies had experienced at least one cyber-attack, compared to 71% in the previous year. In the same study, data suggested that UK businesses had the 5th lowest investment in IT security, standing at a little over 11% of their total IT budgets.

Considering that human errors are often the typical cause of cybersecurity breaches, with over 80% of data breaches involving a human aspect, finance teams must be prepared on the range of cybersecurity risks and the most appropriate processes to eliminate them. To effectively tackle cyberattacks, finance teams should ensure cybersecurity measures become part of their daily activities, implementing continuous security monitoring using automation. Automation can provide the best safety net for detecting and preventing cyberattacks in finance, enabling quicker detection of fraud compared to the average person. Being capable of authenticating documents and automatically detecting invoice fraud and other forged materials holds significant value for companies, particularly those dealing with customer data.

Cloud/SaaS technologies

It wasn’t long ago that finance solutions were launched onsite, but with the rise of remote and hybrid working environments, cloud and SaaS technologies have become a pivotal part of digital business.

Thanks to the advantages of cloud technologies, accounts payable teams are capable of being reactive, productive and agile. Access to cloud and SaaS solutions enables finance teams to work whenever, which has benefitted retention rates and made business more appealing. Furthermore, cloud and SaaS solutions provide better security, compared to traditional on-premise options and provide total visibility of digital payments within a single platform. By using secure credentials, employees can interact with company data and other software to complete tasks remotely without undertaking manual updates.

Something particularly important at present is how cloud systems can support businesses with uncertainties and potentially disruptive events. With some degree of unknown, it’s vital to invest in adaptable systems that can scale. Systems delivered via the cloud equip businesses with high-performance solutions without investing in costly alternatives.

Big Data and Analytics

Finance teams are particularly data-intensive, which means there is an opportunity to process, analyse and leverage data in various ways. Big data analytics can assist finance teams with identifying fraudulent activities and offer preventative measures because the data available can be used to measure unusual financial activity. Additionally, big data analytics can support businesses in assessing risks and implementing steps to control them. Both historical and real-time data offer valuable insights into customers, businesses and transaction companies. Equipped with big data analytics, finance leaders are discovering new opportunities to enhance predictive modelling, better forecasting, and making informed decisions on large data sets.

Focus on maintaining the bottom line 

This year brings new priorities, and finance leaders must focus on smart investments that improve security, productivity and longevity. Finance leaders must ensure smart digital investments convert into wins for their businesses. Focusing on measures that support transformation, increase digital capabilities within their teams and support a drive for better forecasting and harnessing data will deliver success.

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