The top enterprise finance trends emerging this year hold the keys to success. These can make the most influential impact on your business in 2022.
April 1, 2022
5 min read
While the future remains unpredictable, finance teams have adapted exceedingly well to the rapidly changing landscape. Whether it be the shift to remote and hybrid work, or the implementation of new technologies, finance leaders are up to the challenge of leaving behind some of the old ways of navigating business and instead, embracing new trends to build upon
Not only are these trends a result of adaptation to the “new normal,” but they can be utilized to get a glimpse of changes to come in the future. Due to the recent availability of truly productive hyper-automation tools for current processes, leaders finally have the ability to push their digitization goals further. Gartner’s latest 2022 survey revealed that 82% of CFO’s report that their investments in digital are accelerating, and more than 80% are expected to increase their time spent on advanced analytic technologies that the finance function can use to provide more forward-looking and predictive insights to the business.
The top trends emerging this year hold the key to a successful 2022 for your company. The most influential changes we’ve seen include the shift of business goals that were once seen as more long-term initiatives becoming immediate, and essential in sustaining a successful business. This shift to investment in pre-existing priorities is changing the way finance leaders are navigating initiatives this year.
Top enterprise finance trends for this year:
People-first company culture
To start, a large trend taking place this year is the expansion into shareable data across companies. As we know, the more data your company has, the larger potential there is to leverage that data to improve many facets of your business. The aggregation of data can inform you of the current state of your company, the improvements it can benefit from, and drive predictive analytics that inform you of what's next. Plus, the amount of data businesses are generating is increasing exponentially and is expected to grow nearly five times by 2025.
A recent study found this growth to be a huge opportunity, but also a daunting endeavor for leaders. The CEO of Splunk says, “The Data Age is here. We can now quantify how data is taking center stage in industries around the world. As this new research demonstrates, organizations understand the value of data, but are overwhelmed by the task of adjusting to the many opportunities and threats this new reality presents.” Data security and integrity are often large concerns when it comes to this new age, but game plans to capitalize on this data are being developed globally through internal teams at enterprises or with the help of external finance transformation consultants.
New technologies are on the rise, making data sharing across organizations more common, and more accessible. While internal data generated from within your organization is powerful in informing financial decisions, the help of external data from the market and customers add a new layer of knowledge to the mix. Data sharing technologies work to shift insights that were traditionally off-limits to externally sourced data that is available and shareable, granting companies access to even more data than they have had before. According to Deloitte’s 13th annual “Tech Trends” report, more than 70% of global data and analytics decision-makers are expanding their ability to use external data. Additionally, within the next two years, more organizations are expected to explore opportunities to secure data-sharing capabilities that will aid in monetizing their own internal information assets and accomplish business goals.
With access to both internal data and secured external data, companies can be more informed than ever, allowing them to pinpoint exactly what strategies to implement in order to align with company goals. This combined pool of data can yield opportunities to utilize transformative technologies such as AI and machine learning. Additionally, AI and machine learning can take advantage of this additional data and create new data to be used. For example, Vic.ai uses our AI-powered engine to provide clients with process mining capabilities, complete with customizable insight dashboards that feature key performance indicators. This facilitates change management as customers drive adoption across their global finance teams, while also informing us of ways to continuously improve the product. It’s a win-win for both sides!
Data is one of the most valuable aspects of your company if you have the tools to maximize it, as it can reveal critical information on how to satisfy your customers, increase efficiency, and save costs. The more data knowledge you have, the more foresight you have at your disposal to drive growth for your company.
People-first company culture
The pandemic has altered the way we work, not only in terms of location, but also in the way we navigate company culture. The shift from working in an office to working remotely was challenging at first, but has now become a way of life. More companies now realize employees are able to perform their jobs anywhere, compared to being constricted to one office location before the global shutdown happened in 2020.
Fortunately, companies have found many benefits from the sudden shift. “As we’ve moved to virtual work, we haven’t just coped, we’ve actually thrived. We are more focused on the things that have the greatest impact on our customers, associate and the business. We are making quicker decisions and actions. Meetings are now more inclusive of people regardless of location, level, or other differences. We have great momentum and need to figure out how to carry it forward,” Suresh Kumar, CTO at Walmart expressed.
This realization has helped organizations offer more flexibility through remote and hybrid work, allowing employees’ workplace preferences to be considered much more than before. According to a recent survey, 1 in 3 respondents would not want to work for an employer that required them to be onsite full-time, and nearly half of current remote workers would consider leaving a role without the option of partial remote work. This often gives future or current employees the leg up when renegotiating contracts. Professionals across all industries have the power to ask for what they deserve and actually get it. Companies have discovered self-starters can still emerge without sitting a few cubicles down from one another.
Employee retention requires active pursuit of taking the satisfaction ‘temperature’ of your employees to ensure they feel valued in their roles. This can include incorporating active DE&I initiatives, rethinking how new employees are being onboarded, and facilitating relationship-building among coworkers. For example, a company lacking diverse colleagues may deter new potential diverse candidates from applying, or cause candidates to reject a job offer out of fear that they might go unheard and underrepresented. This can be combated by not only requiring a diverse candidate pool during the recruiting process, but by investing in meaningful DE&I training for your current employees. Creating a space where all voices are considered and cultural awareness is not only taught, but celebrated, can facilitate a positive workplace for everyone. By instating a people-first culture, leaders are reconsidering how they are maintaining a positive work environment that encourages a better workplace experience, prioritizes individual mental health, ensures employee comfort, and promotes company camaraderie.
An additional piece of instilling a people-first company culture is to make sure you are not only maintaining a positive environment, but also offering opportunities for growth. In a recent survey, 86% of respondents agree that finance professionals’ skill sets need to evolve to include continuous planning and forecasting. On the flip side, employees want to improve processes to free up their time to embrace these new skills. According IOFL’s recent Automation Trends report, “Nearly nine out of ten respondents (88%) felt finance roles could be different if invoice management and supplier payments processes were improved.” Both sides are ready for finance roles to evolve. With leaders and employees aligned, who should be responsible for making it happen? You probably know the answer.
By setting aside a budget to provide upskill training, companies can not only develop their current workforce’s skill set, but also attract new talent who are eager to learn new skills that set them apart from their peers.
Digital transformation with a focus on AI
With the future more uncertain than ever, finance leaders have become determined to adopt new growth strategies rooted in digital transformation. While we are discussing the trends for 2022, the real goal for finance leaders is to realize their strategic visions for their company and explore new technologies in advance to stay ahead of the curve. This year, CFO’s are seeking to tackle business challenges through evolving their current practices with innovative technologies. Digital transformation gives your finance team more time to discuss strategy and growth with the goal of ensuring a sustainable long-term business performance.
Implementing artificial intelligence will yield improved business performance, increase efficiency, save time, and positively impact the bottom line. The results of a recent CFO Benchmark Study found that 43.9% of survey respondents say AI and Machine learning are their top areas of technology investment, while 55.1% reported automation tools as their priority. AI can analyze more data, faster. The automation of once manual tasks increases productivity significantly, granting your team more time to focus on value creation. Through using large amounts of aggregated data we discussed previously, machine learning technologies utilize predictive analysis that can help grant insight, avoid any future errors, and also inform your team of which processes are currently in place and determine the ones in need of an upgrade.
In the same vein, CFO’s are shifting to cloud services to allow for more efficient planning and forecasting in facilitating growth for their business. According to predictions from Gartner, global spending on cloud services is expected to reach over $482 billion in 2022, up from $314 billion in 2020. Cloud services are computing services delivered to companies and customers over the internet. The main types of cloud computing are infrastructure as a service, software as a service, and platform as a service. All can be resourceful tools for the success of your company. Common cloud services companies have already begun to incorporate into their workflow including Zoom, Google Docs, and Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing aids in workload mobility, data storage access, resource shareability, and cost management. It also makes it easier to create projects based on other emerging technologies such as mobile and AI.
Technology strategies are the first step
While technological upgrades are useful, they are not the end-all be all in digital transformation. Technology is a tool meant to guide you to your ultimate goal of transforming a process into something effective and implementable. Before adopting AI systems, it is important to have an AI strategy to make sure the technology you choose is providing the solutions to the specific problems your company is facing. It must be able to integrate into your environment in a way your finance team can understand so they can utilize its full potential. Don’t fall prey to the “next best thing” and instead, consider what digital transformation project aligns with your success roadmap.
2022 has already brought challenges and opportunity. With a wavering global economy, this will likely continue to l be an interesting and innovative year, moving toward new ways of collaboration and transformative technologies. It is important for finance leaders to stay on top of trends and embrace them in order to ensure financial sustainability and growth long term. Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss an autonomous accounting trend!
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