‘I was blind, but now I see’: how not to crash and burn in financial processing

I recently came across an interesting article on the UK’s supply management magazine’s website covering recent research by the Hackett Group, under a headline that stated that “Firms expanding globally are ‘flying blind’ because they do not have access to enough information about suppliers and other key areas.”

The research found that less than 30 per cent of businesses surveyed could claim to have “near real-time visibility” of supplier base spend volumes – this was compared to the “circa 50%” that could show that they have the same level of visibility into customer information and sales volumes. Alarmingly, only a quarter had similar levels of access to financial performance and forecasts, a situation that robs the business of confidence as they grapple with the opportunity (and the challenge) of fueling the promised global growth.

At Basware, we recognise this as a challenge that comes with success and growth. It’s clear from working with forward-thinking SMB’s to industry-dominating enterprises, that a lack of access to real-time, accurate and reliable financial data by both decision makers and operational executors can act as a drag on the forces of growth.

Businesses need forensic, actionable data visualisation across the cash-to-cash conversion cycle to avoid a reliance on external financing, which prevents the decisive investment decisions required to support the business’ aspirations.

It was in order to attack this problem, one that plagues companies of all sizes, that we launched our advanced reporting suite, Basware Analytics, earlier this year. Offering sophisticated data visualisation, Basware Analytics empowers employees across the business to improve cost management and become financial champions.

Financial leaders need an accurate picture of financial performance. The only way to achieve this is to combine transactional data across invoicing, procurement, accounts payable and their trade network. Basware Analytics is unique in its ability to provide deep analysis and insight across the vast range of Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) information to help businesses make smarter decisions.

By working with our customers to help them adopt such analytical capabilities into their financial operations, we aim to enable them to join the select group of businesses that Hackett’s research called “globalisation leaders”. These are a band of businesses that leveraged access to such information almost 80 per cent of the time on average – with automation being noted as “one key strategy” to achieve this. Without such automation, laggard organisations are shown to rely heavily on “standalone spreadsheets” and “manual data sourcing” as their primary forecasting tool – an approach that Hackett found was preventing them “moving to more forward-looking analyses based on a wider variety of non-financial data sources”.

It’s clear from our work with purchase-to-pay organisations across the world that successful globalisation requires what Hackett’s research labels “dramatic changes to improve the visibility of financial management information, in part through expanded use of automation”.

My question to you: are you harnessing the new power of data visualisation tools to help unlock the potential of your company?