How cloud technology is giving finance leaders a competitive advantage

Shaun Jex

Cloud technology is key for finance teams, increasing flexibility, decreasing cost and providing a secure means of storing and sharing data.

The last few years have fundamentally changed how businesses function, driving finance teams to find flexible and accessible solutions to improve performance. In an analysis of COVID-19’s impact, McKinsey found that consumer behaviors have changed markedly, as has how the workplace is organized, with a greater increase in remote and hybrid structures. These changes have revealed that many organizations are dependent on solutions that rely too heavily on obsolete technology and manual processes.

This reliance can lead to a number of inefficiencies and inaccuracies which translate into lost time and money. Legacy software solutions typically increase IT costs, while the lack of centralized, accessible data creates delays as remote employees attempt to access multiple systems. A shift to cloud-based financial solutions is helping organizations overcome these problems through improved flexibility, cost effectiveness, collaboration and security. In a recent survey of CFOs/VPs of Finance, 74% listed cloud computing in their top five priorities.

Keeping Up With the Cloud

As noted by McKinsey, hybrid business models are fast becoming commonplace, with employees alternating between home and office on a schedule that suits them. For finance teams relying on solutions outside of the cloud, this presents several problems. The accounts receivable function touches multiple departments such as sales, operations and customer support. With employees working remotely, this can cause complications if each department is on a different system. Time is wasted attempting to access or exchange data, which can lead to delayed payments. A centralized cloud solution eliminates this issue.

In our post-pandemic world, it appears that work-from-home and hybrid structures are set to continue. According to a Gartner survey of CFOs and finance leaders, 74% will move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID-19. What's more, Pew Research found that over 50% of employees who say that they can work from home would like to continue doing so after the pandemic. An additional one-third of those surveyed stated that they would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time. For finance leaders, moving operations to the cloud will allow them to stay ahead of the curve as traditional business models are forced to adapt.

expense management

Studies have found that using the cloud provides a significantly higher return on investment (ROI) than on-site solutions

Make It Rain - Savings

Studies have found that using the cloud provides a significantly higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional on-site solutions. In an Accenture study, companies reported 45% lower infrastructure and storage costs and 27% lower compliance and legal fees. Additionally, automation capabilities enabled by the cloud reduce the manual costs associated with accounts receivable and accounts payable.

Sterling Commerce found that moving from paper invoicing to an automated process created cost savings of 90% on the accounts payable side, and 44% in accounts receivable. In addition, automation decreases the amount of time spent on basic tasks such as inputting data and reporting, which enables employees to manage priority tasks more strategically, such as customer collections. YayPay handles email delivery of invoices, as well as follow up communications such as payment reminders and escalations, until an invoice is paid. The solution also provides customization options, allowing follow-ups to be scaled up or down with tailored messaging, which improves the customer experience and accelerates payment speed. Learn more about YayPay’s collections capabilities here

cloud technology

Forbes states that cloud-based collaboration tools enable a wide array of enhanced capabilities

Collaborate Smarter, Not Harder

Accessibility and centralized data also help finance collaborate with other departments. Forbes states that “cloud-based collaboration tools enable a wide array of enhanced capabilities in areas such as communication, product and service delivery, information sharing, tapping knowledge resources and group problem-solving.” Today, it’s clear that collaboration is critical to a company’s competitive advantage.

Given the close link between sales and accounts receivable, the collaboration between departments is an absolute necessity. YayPay provides finance teams with predictive analytics, which makes it possible to accurately anticipate customer payment behavior. Not only does this allow finance teams to strategically manage collections, but cloud-based access to this information also benefits sales teams. When they are aware of which accounts are likely to pay on time and which are not, they can avoid making sales to non-paying customers.

cloud securityCloud solutions provide greater security by increasing automation in financial processes, which decreases the chance of human error

How Secure Is Our Data?

A move to the cloud will inevitably raise questions around data security. However, a Gartner report reveals that “virtually all public cloud use is within services that are highly resistant to attack and, in the majority of circumstances, represent a more secure starting point than traditional in-house implementations.” Cloud solutions also provide greater security by increasing the level of automation in financial processes, which decreases the chance of human error.

Financial operations are the lifeblood of a company, which makes it imperative that they are as efficient, secure and reliable as possible. To ensure this, financial leaders must be able to adapt to the changing realities of doing business. Using the cloud for financial operations provides the necessary resources, accessibility and flexibility, giving your team the advantage it needs today and in the future.