Who Wants to Be a Spreadsheet Jockey?
No one. That’s the short answer. But as CIOs continue to wrestle with the shortcomings of finance offerings within the technology stack, you’d be forgiven for thinking that spreadsheets and manual processing are still fashionable.
An Uphill Struggle
Organisations haven’t made it easy for the CIO. For starters, businesses have grown, acquiring companies, crossing borders, and mixing currencies. They’ve tried to avoid fraud and keep systems secure.
Businesses are demanding, to say the least. They even expect end-to-end financial reporting to be timely, accurate, and trustworthy. The cheek of it. And yet the CIO bravely battles on, focused on information systems and communication workflows with the aim of increasing process efficiency.
How do they manage to solve those problems and appease the Board? How do they deliver the all-important financial close every day, week, month, and year? Usually, they throw bodies at it.
Inefficiencies & Cost Control
It’s one of those hard to swallow and hard to admit truths within almost every complex business (and almost every business is complex): the most efficient way of delivering a set of financial results is to be hugely inefficient. Oh, the irony.
But when the battleground includes multiple suites of legacy software, conflicting ERP systems, currency exchanges, variable tax controls, and legislative processes… it’s easy to understand how most technology platforms simply stand in the way of progress.
Spreadsheets appear to be the only viable solution. They even start to look attractive. Thousands of spreadsheets being generated by hundreds of Oompa Loompas, printed, collated, and filed until there are no more cabinets left to fill.
But the accounts are closed. So that’s alright, then.
Except of course it’s not alright. However hard the truth is to admit, it doesn’t matter. We live in a post-truth society. One where nothing is believable anymore.
Politicians can’t be trusted, regardless of how much they say they can. The planet is or isn’t dying. And the financial records of a business using outdated manual records and processes are no longer trustworthy.
The CIO can throw endless expensive bodies at the problem, but it doesn’t make the outcome any more believable. Even the Oompa Loompas don’t believe it anymore.
The talent pool has already changed. The needs of modern finance are being met by modern financiers—accountants not only trained in accountancy, but brought up with expectations of digital transformation as a norm. Systems, processes, interfaces, integrations—everything required to make the close as efficient, effective, and automated as possible, without ever having to print a spreadsheet.
As businesses continue to grow and evolve and the CIO continues to seek workflow efficiencies, the transformation from manual to automated becomes imperative. Not just for the business, the talent it hopes to attract, or even for the CIO.
It’s imperative for the future of business. No one wants to be a spreadsheet jockey. Really—no one.
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