Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is undergoing a new wave and in the past we’ve discussed how enterprises can engage with global systems integrators in this new model. Yet, I believe Finance and Accounting (F&A) is ready to come of age and the public cloud is the mechanism enterprises and GSIs alike will choose for it. Here’s why:
1. Security: Once enterprise organizations understood the economic benefits of moving F&A processes to the public cloud, they still remained concerned that cloud solutions might not deliver the unparalleled controls and risk mitigation of the highest tier of multinational operations come to expect. Yet, leading cloud financial platforms such as NetSuite are now compliant with the crucial reporting and auditing standards for global business, including EU Safe Harbor, SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402.
2. Opportunity: Enterprises now recognize that F&A outsourcing is the next logical step in the ongoing drive to focus on core business and strategic differentiation. In short, enterprise wants to sell more, not budget for accounting software upgrades.
3. Affordability and available talent: Financial departments are typically resource-constrained, meaning they cannot always get the best people for the job—just the people who fit into the budget. Outsourcing F&A processes to the cloud enables enterprise to focus on creating and selling while opening up new talent pools.
4. Process Modernization: Transforming F&A processes in the cloud, with a trusted GSI advisor, provides the enterprise with the perfect opportunity to purge legacy processes. Most organizations know that far too much of their financial health and insight resides in spreadsheets designed to meet the demands of a long-departed CFO. Instead of enduring the fact that key processes such as order-to-cash are bound to inefficient and outdated systems and spreadsheets, the move to cloud F&A leads to modern and repeatable transactions.
5. CFO Buying Power:
The office of the CIO no longer wields iron-fisted control of technology decisions that materially impact the business. Functional leaders, including the CFO, now enjoy more flexibility to make their own decisions about the technology and strategy which support their strategic and operational goals. CIOs remain involved in the adoption and governance process, of course, but the ultimate buyer of F&A processes and technology is now a finance executive, not a technology executive.
6. Consensus: The entire financial organization understands potential and opportunities created by the cloud. CFOs have long seen the advantages of the key dashboard and trending figures they need when speaking to analysts, while controllers understand the functional advantages and day-to-day enhancements that modern, cloud-based F&A can provide. These are not competing goals, and with more of the trusted voices behind the CFO advocating the same direction, cloud F&A becomes inevitable.