Relieving the Pressure: Keeping Finance Up to Date With Technology

Financial leaders’ roles are expanding, compliance demands and costs are rising, there’s a new revenue recognition standard to implement, and — oh yeah — finding the staff needed to manage everything is increasingly difficult. As stressful as these issues are, though, chief financial officers don’t think they’re the greatest concern for accounting and finance functions.

In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, CFOs cited keeping up with technology as the greatest pressure facing their teams.

“Technology touches every aspect of accounting and finance, and many organizations struggle to keep pace and understand the associated opportunities and risks,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “Although updating technology requires an initial investment of time and resources, it can pay off in terms of improved financial reporting, enhanced security and the ability to make better decisions. It also helps companies strengthen their internal controls and remain compliant with regulatory mandates.”

So, how can financial executives help their teams stay up to date on the latest and greatest technologies? It starts with having the right people in place.

McDonald said, “Companies need accounting and finance staff who are proficient with enterprise resource planning systems, are able to automate financial processes, and can tap business intelligence tools to mine data they can turn into strategic guidance. For specific projects, consultants can step in to assist with an initiative while helping full-time employees with new systems.”

Here are five more tips:

  1. Provide training and professional development opportunities, both in-house and through external services.

  2. Partner staff with technologically savvy mentors.

  3. Bring in consultants with subject-matter expertise on the latest systems and programs.

  4. Assign team members to projects that force them to learn new technologies and expand their skills.

  5. Involve staff in the research and selection phases for new technologies and upgrades.

What other advice do you have to help accounting and finance teams keep pace with technological advancements?

Photo credit: Ahhhhhhh, by Kenny Louie (Creative Commons license)