Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

10 Reasons to Move Finance to the Cloud

Rudolph Lukez
Director, ERP Product Marketing, Oracle

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the first smartphone—a device that not only changed the way we socialize and communicate, but the way we work. Over the last ten years, companies of all sizes in every industry have been profoundly affected by new technologies. Today’s companies are more mobile, more social, more productive, and have seen their data volumes explode.

Unfortunately, some finance departments have been left behind.

Investments in new technologies are typically made in customer-facing lines of business first, such as sales or service. Despite managing every aspect of a company’s money—including revenue, cash flow, compliance, risk, receivables, payables, and taxes—finance is too often seen as a back office function, languishing near the bottom of the list for new technology investments.

Such an approach can be short-sighted; recent research from AICPA and Oracle has shown that finance has a strategic role to play in guiding the business to success.

Considering an investment in your finance systems? Get the handbook.

Aside from long-term, strategic considerations, there are several short-term tactical challenges that can trigger a move to modern finance in the cloud. If you’re facing any of the following 10 challenges, it’s a good time to consider making the move to cloud finance.

1. Reporting is getting harder, and everybody wants instant answers.

Older, on-premises finance systems typically run batch reports, and custom information must be requested via IT. Modern cloud systems have revolutionized the reporting paradigm—providing built-in reports, in real time, with dashboards that users can configure to answer their business questions.

2. Spreadsheets are proliferating.

With growing reporting demands, finance users turn to spreadsheets to perform analysis and answer questions. Uncontrolled and error-prone, spreadsheets introduce additional risk into the finance function.

3. The company is growing fast.

If your business is growing quickly, or getting ready to expand into new markets and geographies, finance must be ready to answer questions about new opportunities. Legacy ERP systems often can’t keep up with the pace of expansion.

4. Local and international compliance requirements are changing.

As more financial transactions span the globe, more entities—from governments to independent organizations—are requiring newer and tougher oversight and disclosure.

5. It’s time for an IPO (or other major business model evolution).

Finance is asked to support rapidly evolving business model plans to take an organization to its next level—like making an initial public offering (IPO) or rapidly incorporating a major acquisition. Potential investors want assurances that the finance numbers you provide are complete and accurate.

6. The population of younger employees is increasing.

Each month, more Baby Boomers retire, and more young people begin their careers. Armed with experiences and education built around a mobile, social world, they expect their work-life tools will mimic all aspects of their lives.

7. Close processes are longer and more complex.

Traditional close processes are getting more difficult and take longer, but management wants it to be done faster than the previous period. Some are even demanding a continuous close cycle—something that is nearly impossible with legacy ERP.

8. Data is exploding.

New technologies, including mobile devices and Internet of Things, are generating data that impacts finance, the supply chain, customer service and other lines of business. Legacy finance systems are not equipped to handle this information, and are often not even integrated with the systems generating the data.

9. Data imports and integrations are increasing.

In an effort to keep up with all this data, IT teams build imports, APIs and integrations into legacy ERP systems—usually with the help of third-party consulting firms and a large budget. This adds cost, making current systems more expensive to maintain—not to mention impossible to upgrade without another round of customizations.

10. System maintenance costs are rising.

The more heavily customized your systems, the more money they cost to maintain. And, as these systems age, it becomes more difficult to find people with the specialized knowledge required to keep them running.

Even one of these signs can help you build a solid business case for moving finance to the cloud. While you might be delaying the decision to move, there is a good chance your competitors are heading to the cloud right now.

So don’t wait another 10 years for the next big disruption to happen. Start planning your move now to finance in the cloud.

For more signs it’s time to move to the cloud, download Your Complete Guide to Modern Finance.

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