At first sight, a transformation projects may seem complex, long, costly and even risky. Therefore, it is no wonder that companies choose to avoid change.
However, for those that are more daring, the benefits can be significant.
The 3 main reasons for embarking on this approach
Firstly, one of the main benefits is enhance productivity levels and increase the level of service provided by the Finance function. Thanks to new approaches to work and the benefits of new technologies (Cloud, Big Data, AI and automation), companies that undertake modernisation will benefit from considerable quantitative and qualitative gains. The resources of the Finance function will be better deployed and the performance of the function will be increased.
The second major benefit? Attracting talent, particularly across the younger generation as they are less receptive to traditional working methods. Companies constantly need to renew their teams and those that wish to seek the best profiles, understand the best team members only want to work with tools and processes that are both modern and efficient.
Finally, the last reason for transforming the Finance function is that it allows the redeployment of staff to higher value-added tasks such as profitability analysis, risk management, performance management, the ability to anticipate market trends or business planning. Even with the best will in the world, a Finance function that is slow or struggling to modernise will have great difficulty in moving away from the day-to-day operations of the function: recording transactions, invoicing, producing reports (data crunching), basic treasury operations.
Therefore, whilst implementation Finance transformation can be a challenge, for those that succeed significant rewards are present.
What are the main stages of Finance transformation?
Transformation projects can be notoriously tricky to execute but utilizing the right supporting framework can make the process go a lot smoother. BAKIA uses both Kotler’s and Lewin’s models for change management when undertaking a transformation project.
Before the transformation, a scoping stage is necessary. This phase will enable the target to be defined in broad terms, the expected benefits, the timetable and the cost of the project. From this stage onwards, we recommend generating interest in the project and teams on board. Explaining the project, the objectives and the expected benefits, listening to stakeholders fears and demands in the face of the changes announced, no matter how challenging. Without an appropriate call to action and listening, there is a risk that unanticipated resistance to the project will multiply.
During the transformation, careful selection of project teams are very important and should utilize a mix of internal and external consultants, whilst also considering physical location. This can include the Finance, IT and HR teams, in terms of organisation and change management. The idea is to mobilise more than just the Finance team to enact the change.
It is also essential to set up a project governance system to ensure the timeliness and regularity of progress and deliverables. The establishment of a shared, regularly updated timetable to which the various parties commit is one of the key success factors. Generally speaking, a project requires good control of three components: time, cost and quality. However, a controlled timetable remains the crucial part to driving meaningful business change.
After the transformation, it is necessary to ensure regular monitoring of the systems that have been put in place. For a new information system, it will be necessary to set up an after-sales service and then a maintenance service, capable of taking into account the changing needs of users and technologies. Processes will need to be reviewed regularly, at least once a year, as they need to be fine-tuned on an ongoing basis. If the transformation has focused on a management model, it is important to revisit it to ensure that it undergoes an evolution if the design intention has shifted away from the original. Finally, for the transformation of the organisation, it is essential to ensure that the right people are in place, are sufficiently staffed and that long-term HR monitoring is in place.
The Finance function has lots to gain by regularly launching projects to transform its operating methods. To succeed however, it will have to implement rigorous project management and ensure mobilisation of its teams and partners.
Are you planning to launch a transformation project? Contact us to discuss your needs.