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Why Digital Transformation Begins With Data Integrity & Process Excellence

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“You have to prove that the numbers are accurate, that the numbers and therefore the automated processes are based on good data. It’s part of the SOX requirement, and it’s central to every accountant’s skill set,” says BlackLine Controller Patrick Villanova.

That’s why, according to Villanova as well as McKinsey, PwC, and other experts, Accounting and Finance plays a vital role in the organization’s digital transformation.

“The integrity of data and how it’s used is critical to the success of Finance and Accounting,” Villanova says. “Accountants are specialists in verifying, corroborating, and validating the data we store and use in our processes. And we can bring that expertise to the entire enterprise.”

To start, Accounting should be able to prove the efficacy of its process automation to the rest of the organization.

“You can’t sell process excellence on theory alone,” he says. “You first have to prove that you’ve done it yourself. Then the rest of the business takes notice. That’s why the best finance organizations are finding widening recognition as partners in enterprise transformation.”

Gaining Recognition

Recognition comes from a number of internal areas, including Operations, Sales, and Marketing.

Accounting is helping IT evaluate new infrastructure investments in digital transformation, for instance. And, Accounting is helping Marketing and Product Management with the ROI analysis of new initiatives.

“Short-term analysis is helpful, of course, but what Finance also does is help each group put in place an automated analytics structure that can be used for long-term planning as well.

“That kind of process-based repeatability is really the promise of digital transformation," says Villanova. "It is what Accounting and Finance are doing today, and what all organizations aspire to achieve in the future.”

Read our latest issue of BlackLine Quarterly for more stories like this, and to learn how to make meaningful progress in your organization’s digital finance transformation.