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How finance leaders can drive growth and avoid risk

07 May 2019

Growth is one of the key drivers for most organisations. In today’s rapidly changing environment, there are numerous challenges businesses need to overcome; these include digital disruption, new data privacy legislation, evolving needs and expectations of employees and customers. 
Chief finance officers (CFOs) need to understand how they can help drive the right strategies to accommodate and facilitate the many changes, according to SAP Concur. 

SAP Concur MD Matt Goss says,  “The changing business landscape means organisations need to take risks and be bold, as well as protect themselves from new challenges in cybersecurity, data privacy, and financial governance. These responsibilities don’t just fall to IT teams. It’s important CFOs realise the fundamental role they too can play in strategising and mitigating risk.” 

SAP Concur has outlined two effective ways finance leaders can help drive strategy and mitigate risks for their organisation: 

1. Combat fraud 

In 2018, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported a record $340 million was lost by Australian businesses and consumers to fraud. In 2017, business email compromise (BEC) scams stole $22.1 million from Australian businesses. 

To effectively combat financial fraud, finance leaders and IT teams need to collaborate to ensure all staff processing payments and handling financial data can spot suspicious activity. 

When it comes to internal fraud, organisations should invest in authorisation technologies and strong internal security processes, to protect financial data. 
On top of this, organisations can face financial penalties if consumer data is breached, leaked, or mismanaged, in line with Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme, so securing financial and consumer data is an absolute necessity. 

2. Removing barriers to business growth: embracing new technologies 

Once an organisation’s data and finances are secured, finance leaders can focus on implementing emerging technologies to speed up and improve daily processes. 

Using automated technologies to process payments, bills, reimbursement claims and other financial data can significantly relieve finance teams of information-overload and free up employees for more meaningful, productive work. 

Again, finance teams can benefit by working with their IT department to discuss and adopt technologies and automated solutions that fit their unique needs.

It’s important these solutions are updated regularly, to maintain high-performance standards. Automated document and data management will save finance teams time, keep classified data secure and easy to locate, as well as reduce payment delays, inaccuracies, and regulatory compliance challenges. 

Automated data and predictive technologies can also help finance leaders better prepare for their organisation’s future, with enhanced insight into their company’s spend and income. Predictive solutions can indicate when finance leaders might need to revise budgets, adapt spend policies, or pricing. 

Goss concludes, “The CFO and finance team are crucial to an organisation’s success. In an age of uncertainty with changes happening locally and globally, finance leaders need to make proactive decisions relating to the various risks they deal with, to ensure long-term survival and the growth of their organisation.”