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Global Finance Teams Falling Behind in Digital Transformation, According to Report from insightsoftware and Hanover Research

insightsoftware, a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, today launched its annual Finance Team Trends Report. The report found that while two thirds of finance teams are deep into their digital transformation journeys, accelerated by the pandemic, the final leg of their digitization journey is proving to be more challenging than expected because of expanding responsibilities.

The independent survey, conducted with Hanover Research, offers valuable insights into how finance teams are evolving and preparing for the future, and highlights the biggest process challenges that finance teams face in achieving digital maturity. Data was gathered from nearly 500 respondents across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

With 63 percent of finance teams now reporting a “high level” of digitization, they have become significantly more efficient in their day-to-day tasks. But even with all the progress, the report found finance teams are still lagging in three critical areas needed to succeed: rapid support for strategic decision making, scalability of processes, and self-service of data.

Strategic Decision Making

Finance teams’ top three responsibilities remain consistent with 2021 findings – financial planning and analysis was the number one area noted by respondents (64%), followed by financial modeling (57%), and budget and forecasting (47%). Several other tasks, however, are becoming more common, reflecting a gradual shift in priorities. The most prominently growing responsibility is the rise of strategic decision making at 41% (up from 29% in 2021) and internal risk management at 37% (up from 30% in 2021).

Scalability of Processes

Despite global market headwinds, three-quarters of decision-makers (72%) expect to grow their teams. As leaders continue to shore up team capabilities, there is still room for growth when it comes to digitization and automation. According to the report, finance teams feel they are still held back in their jobs due to manual processes and inefficient tooling (50%), a lack of resources (50%) or the ability to quickly access required data (33%).

“Recent global crises and disruptions have exposed the fragility of today’s market and permanently changed finance as we know it. Along with digitization, we’re also seeing a shift in finance teams’ roles as organizations strive to prepare for the next big event,” said Lee An Schommer, Chief Product Officer at insightsoftware. “The Finance Team Trends Report illustrates that, while progress has been made, finance teams are still lagging in key areas of digitization. We recognize the final stretch in digitization is often the most difficult to navigate, but it’s also the most critical. Completing the journey will require further fine-tuned data control, streamlined processes, and intuitive systems to bridge the gap.”

Self-Service Data

Finance team leaders recognize the benefits of automation and digitization and have introduced new tools into daily processes, from budgeting and planning to financial reporting. IT and finance team collaboration are key as new tools continue to be introduced, and three-quarters of finance departments (77%) often interact with IT for financial reporting. But while they are largely satisfied (88%) with their interactions with IT, 80 percent of finance teams also feel over-reliant on IT. The result is bottlenecks in their reporting responsibilities as well as their ability to provide real-time insights and analysis.

“We’re continuing to see this shift in finance team responsibilities towards strategic decision making. Responsibilities will continue to expand while team resources are stretched as many organizations rely on time-consuming manual processes to complete critical financial tasks. The tide needs to change, and urgent attention needs to be paid to how this increasingly important department is supported and resourced, with the right people and tools,” Schommer concluded.

insightsoftware helps global organizations solve key challenges with financial and operational reporting tools that put business data and insights into the hands of decision-makers. To learn more about the challenges finance teams face, download the full report: Finance Teams Trends Report.