7 Digital Initiatives Finance Leaders Should Prioritize in 2022
Rho’s Chief Payments Officer, Sebastian Morales, shares how finance leaders can accelerate digital transformation to unlock operational efficiency, cost savings, and revenue growth.
If the past year (or two) has taught finance leaders anything, it’s that control and agility are critical for managing teams and executing business strategy. Shifting attention to 2022, these themes will remain focal points—and technology is how they will be achieved.
In this article, you’ll learn how CFOs and other finance leaders can continue the momentum of digital transformation. In particular, the following seven initiatives should be prioritized to optimize financial operations, enhance transparency, and support business scalability.
1. Have a plan (and an open mind).
No matter where you are in the digital transformation roadmap, having a plan is step one. However, while you should have a strategy on paper, you’d be wise not to set it in stone. With so much of the world in flux, you need a plan that can be quickly adapted to multiple situations.
Any new digital initiative can be a daunting undertaking, so it’s up to you, as the finance leader, to weigh the cost and rewards. How much will the new technology cost the company in terms of dollars and internal pushback? Resistance is to be expected, especially from employees who have always handled tasks a certain way. By quantifying the savings and communicating how a more efficient process will free up internal bandwidth, you can improve buy-in and adoption.
For companies that have already implemented technology for manual tasks such as data entry and reconciliation, the next level of digital transformation is to blend financial and non-financial data for a holistic look at performance and to make informed decisions across the organization.
2. Invest in data measurement.
Every company wants data. But the challenge today isn’t collecting information—it’s manipulating and interpreting data to make sound financial recommendations.
For most companies, better measurement starts by ensuring your data is accurate. Manual data entry notoriously results in errors and flawed assumptions. By automating transaction entries with modern tools like Rho, you can improve data accuracy and enhance transparency to eliminate variances.
The second step of improving measurement is identifying what exactly you want to measure. Depending on your stage of growth, your team will analyze different data. As an early-stage company, you’ll look at growth metrics. Once the company is more established, your focus may shift to margin maintenance. After determining which KPIs to track, you can find and implement the right tools to ease the burden.
One of the many benefits of advanced data measurement is the ability to derive accurate results from controlled experiments. These objective outcomes can provide game-changing insights for high-growth companies.
3. Leverage industry-leading reporting.
When you’re confident in the quality of your data, you can start putting it to work through best-in-class reporting. The aim for reporting should be to give your people the key information they need to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible. Easy access to your reporting is especially critical to CEOs and investors, who can evaluate company performance with as much granularity as they require. Finally, reliable, real-time reporting prepares your company for a smooth auditing process.
The caveat is that most financial tools are data silos until the information reaches the accounting system. In order to become an industry leader for reporting, you need transparency across the system to remove bottlenecks in insight-gathering and decision-making. With Rho, you have the flexibility to set up your stack however you want. You can pull data through the platform, download it in a CSV file, or integrate it with your BI tool.
4. Optimize processes to adapt to the market.
In fiercely contended markets, your team must be at least as fast (if not faster) than your competitors. As a finance leader, you can influence strategic adjustments through technology and process optimization.
In addition to internal reporting, you can use your data to measure business opportunities. For example, if you know a certain initiative is working well for a competitor, you can pull your company data to gauge the opportunity for your company, make an informed decision, and implement changes quickly if needed. The key here is having the right data, readily available at your fingertips.
5. Avoid these common automation pitfalls.
Depending on the size of your company, you may consider investing in automation. The higher volume of transactions your team handles, the more time and cost savings you can realize. However, there are three common pitfalls of automation to avoid.
Implementing automation technology is often more expensive and rigorous than companies assume. Allocate over budget to avoid surprises. Alternatively, Rho is a free platform that offers an array of automation tools.
No matter how much time you save through automation, you can’t allow your team to lose sight of day-to-day operations; otherwise, your data could become disjointed from what’s happening within the business, which will cost you in the long run.
The importance of quality data entry is so important it bears repeating. You should also audit the data periodically to ensure your efforts aren’t pushing you off track.
6. Engage (and retain) your talent.
It’s no secret that companies in all sectors are facing workforce challenges. Keeping employees happy isn’t just a company morale issue—it’s a real financial concern. According to Gallup, the cost of replacing an employee can be up to 2X the individual’s salary.
Motivating finance employees can be especially challenging. One approach our team takes is assigning rotational tasks to provide variety to the workday, teach new skills, and reinforce a sense of value. With Rho, you can quickly turn permissions on and off for tasks like AP or reconciliation without creating new logins on multiple modules. The platform also significantly improves collaboration, which helps keep our team more connected and engaged while minimizing monotonous, time-consuming tasks that can lead to burnout.
7. Move beyond the spreadsheet.
The ultimate digital goal for finance leaders is finding an effective way out of the spreadsheet and other cumbersome, manual processes. This may not be feasible for your team in 2022, but each smaller initiative puts you one step closer to frictionless finances.
Rho is on a mission to streamline expense management by automating workflows like approvals, receipt capture, and expense tracking, seamlessly integrating AP tools with advanced business banking solutions, and auto-syncing to accounting software for instant reporting and reconciliation.
Make Rho part of your plan.
As a modern spend and cash management platform, Rho provides corporate cards, AP, banking, budgeting and more in an intuitive dashboard that helps finance teams improve the quality and measurement of data, create workflow efficiencies, and enhance collaboration—all backed by an expert team committed to your continued growth.
If you’re ready to see how Rho can help you achieve your digital transformation goals in 2022 (and beyond), apply for an account or book a demo of our platform today.