Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report sponsored by Payhawk

The current economic climate is rife with challenges, and it’s never been more critical for businesses to keep track of two key areas.

Sponsor perspective – Hristo Borisov,Cofounder and CEO, Payhawk

Business expense management, though vital, has often created a lot of friction between finance and non-finance functions. One party chases expense receipts to get good visibility over company spending, while the other is oblivious to the importance of payment data and baffled by the urgency.

Personally, I came into the finance world from the outside and could see this problem all too clearly. As a product leader who’s driven enterprise software-as-a-service products throughout my career, I saw a chance to solve problems and improve things with technology in the finance industry.

Now, years later, I’ve had countless conversations with CFOs and other finance professionals about how exactly they would like their team to function in the “new world” where all of their repetitive administrative tasks are automated, inter-team friction has been removed, and they have free time to strategise and drive forward business growth.

The current economic climate is rife with challenges, and it’s never been more critical for businesses to keep track of two key areas.

The first consists of cash flow, spending, and costs. The second includes all the strategic ways a company gets ahead of the competition (inevitably influenced by the first area). It’s widely understood that technology and the powers of automation can free up finance professionals to focus more on these two key areas and remove the constant friction between finance and non-finance teams.

The question is, is it happening?

In this Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report sponsored by Payhawk, the research points to the proven value of finance teams, with 76% of survey respondents agreeing that finance departments play an essential role in supporting their organisation’s business objectives.

Sixty-four percent thought they could go further and said that finance departments should work more on “analyzing financial data to make recommendations on the organisation’s high-level business model and strategy.

” However, a problem revealed by the data shows a gap. When finance teams aren’t supported by the proper automation, integrations, and tech providers, they can’t improve business strategy.

A massive 67% of survey respondents say that finance departments are likely to spend most of their time chasing down receipts and expenses. Clearly, there is a disconnect, and finance teams need to remove their gloomy repetitive administrative burdens, head into the light, become business enablers for their non-finance colleagues, and support the organisation’s overall strategy.

Untying the finance team from its administrative burdens is a big, important step for those companies that want vital financial insight in order to become more strategic, competitive, and successful.

Automation and the technology to support it is clearly a key differentiator for companies that are ready to use their finance professionals more strategically, and they must prioritise it in order to win.