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Transactional Visibility: A Key Issue Confronting Finance Professionals

March 04, 2016 by Chris Windsor, Director of Customer Development, FISCAL Technologies

The problem that I encounter most often when consulting with senior finance professionals across the globe is the challenge of maintaining visibility over their financial operations.

The issue is understandable given current circumstances. The modern P2P environment is complex and fast-moving. Substantial volumes of invoices are often processed using largely automated systems overseen by a limited number of overworked staff.

The growing trends of centralisation through Shared Service Centres and outsourcing transaction processing (often abroad) add to the complexities and causes concern over a lack of control.

Yet, maintaining high levels of visibility is a key factor in supporting a strong control environment and protecting an organisation from error, overpayments, poor supplier management and fraud.
During 2015 a number of key studies, including APN’s AP Survey, the SSON Annual State of the Shared Services Industry Report and Deloitte’s 2015 Global Corporate Treasury Survey, have confirmed that strengthening business intelligence and maintaining visibility of invoices and overall financial operations rank high among key concerns for global Finance and Shared Service professionals.

Without adequate visibility it is extremely difficult to gauge an organisation’s vulnerability to overpayments and fraud. Besides the obvious financial impact, there is increasing awareness of, and sensitivity to, the potential reputational damage caused by negative publicity around either issue.

In both cases there are substantial benefits to implementing a preventative strategy. Continuous monitoring of operational finance supports a pro-active approach that is much more efficient in terms of time and resources. Taking action to prevent overpayments and fraud also has substantial benefits in terms of risk mitigation.

Increasing visibility over operational finance and focusing on prevention are both made possible by utilising analytical software such as the AP Forensics® suite provided by FISCAL. Implementing such a solution can provide modern finance professionals with a significant advantage by providing real-time insight and information and thus enable them to enhance controls, strengthen compliance and protect working capital. Acting now will lay firm foundations for more effective and efficient financial performance during 2016 and beyond.

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