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Becoming a top league performer by intelligently augmenting Financial Operations

March 13, 2019 by Ton Dobbe, Chief Inspiration Officer, Value Inspiration

Every week I interview entrepreneurs and experts from around the world to share their big idea about new forms of value creation and the potential we can unlock when technology augments the unique strengths of people to deliver remarkable impact. This week I'm joined by David Griffiths, CEO, FISCAL Technologies.

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Risk & fraud are increasing

We are living in a world where risk & fraud are increasing rather than reducing. We discuss why current solutions on the market appear to be so inadequate. How that results in reputational damage, leakage of working capital and underperforming financial performance. And finally, how technology such as AI can be used to deliver remarkable impact.

The thing that triggered me most from my interview with David
“Every finance director and CFO needs to automate their processes and their teams. But at the same time, what you have to do is educate and elevate those teams and provide the path to providing higher value”


Why did this trigger me? What's the bigger value here? 

Throughout my career I’ve been very closely involved with automating Finance Teams by means of marketing Finance and ERP solutions. And for as long as I know there’s been a common saying and desire for Finance to become a ‘Strategic Business Partner’. The reality however is still that Finance teams spend the bulk of their time on compliance, rather than strategy. And there’s not a lot of signs this is changing by itself.

Taking a 30000 ft viewpoint, to me this is about one thing: Complacency – both at the end-user organization side, as well as the vendor side. Complacency is a hidden danger that’s inhibiting progress in many ways. It’s the self-believe ‘we’re doing just fine’.

We seem to be too busy to see the problem is just growing bigger on us. In order to move the balance from compliance and admin to strategy we have to do away with the common believe we’ve got things covered. Just because we’ve automated the procurement process, doesn’t mean we’re adding the value the organization is screaming for to stay relevant. And just because we’ve got three-way matching, doesn’t mean we’ve eliminated risk or fraud.

To the contrary - The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners recently published that on average 5% of revenues in any organization is lost to fraud. What’s more striking - they also estimate that for every $,£,€ of fraud we catch, we miss out on 15$,£,€, that’s 93%! This equals $500,- for every person on the planet! It’s time to challenge the status quo.

What’s the more significant question/opportunity that raises?

Acknowledging this is a first solid step to a better future. Due to the evolution of technology, globalization and the introduction of new business models, the problem will just grow bigger on us. Sticking to old principles hasn’t helped enough in the past decades and will not help going forward.

The role of Procure-to-Pay professionals has evolved in a way it wasn’t meant to be from the start. So, it’s time to take a step back and fix the problem at the core. To me a big part of the problem lies with the fact the focus has been too much output rather than outcome - both on the end-user side, as well as the vendor side.

The goal of the Procurement and Finance department should not be to create a scalable, efficient and cost-effective process (output). The goal of Procurement and Finance is to be a driver of results i.e. enabling the overall organization to grow its value towards its customers, its partners and the organization itself.

It’s a subtle difference in definition but results in having a lens that can be used to constantly challenge the status quo and drive progress.

We have to revert back to a situation where the professionals we hire actually do what they are best at – critical thinking, problem solving, communication, etc. and a way to achieve this is in the day and age we live in i.e. 2019, is not by introducing more automation, the P2P department is lean enough already. Instead we need to establish human/machine combos, self-learning technology that intelligently augments finance and P2P professionals to get ahead of the problem, get pro-active, stop the fire-fighting and win the war against risk & fraud.

Listen to the big idea behind FISCAL Tech, and why it has the potential to transform the impact finance and procure-to-pay professionals can make to their organization.

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