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global supply chain

Digital Global Supply Chain Can Be a Strategic Advantage

Spreadsheets, emails, and paper documents are outdated and no longer an effective method for gaining control of today’s global supply chain. Astute CFOs are finding that those out-dated methods can only provide incremental improvements.

Many companies are ineffectively managing their global supply chains by using manual methods or outsourcing functions to third parties. These practices create black holes, loss of control and can increase costs.

Key to Success

Companies that fail to digitize their processes are missing out on vital performance boosting opportunities. Enacting a digital model of the global supply chain, allows companies to share, process, and analyze information much more efficiently. It also provides a reduction in costs and risks while enabling digital agility, which is the brass ring of supply chain success.

Digitization creates control and ownership while reducing the dependency on third-party providers. Unlike traditional methods of outsourcing or managing different systems, digitizing allows tasks to happen on a single platform. This improves the ability to align all operations with the business policies and the financial objectives.

A Strategic Competitive Advantage

Legacy tools can no longer effectively process the vast amounts of data involved in running today’s massive global supply chains.

To better manage a global supply chain, a company must seamlessly and automatically integrate data from both internal as well as external sources. Surveys show that fewer than 47% of respondents are using supply chain data to analyze the demand patterns and create a forecast using internal and external data. Meaning, there is room for strategic advantages.

Using a single platform makes it easier to share information and communicate with third parties by providing the ability to collect the answers all at once and reuse the answers throughout the entire process, providing for less redundancy and greater efficiency.

Automation provides a consistent standard and an efficient way for companies to safeguard against accidental violations. This also doubles as a way to reduce risk and protect the corporate brand.

Another benefit of going digital is that every transaction and event is captured and preserved within the platform. Making it easier to analyze the data and discover hidden issues.

Improve Your Bottom Line

Progressive CFOs recognize that making global supply chains digital benefits the company, its partners, and customers.

For more helpful information, check out The Increased Demand for Financial Controls

cryptocurrency less overwhelming

Making Cryptocurrency Less Overwhelming

The cryptocurrency and blockchain technology buzz has been trending since the cryptocurrency or “crypto” boom of 2017 and shows no sign of slowing down. Everywhere you look, more and more accounting and financial professionals are attempting to learn everything they can about crypto. But, with so much information out there, many are feeling overwhelmed.

If you want to stay ahead of the crypto curve, follow these methods:

Keep tabs on the compliance laws, taxation and regulation of cryptocurrency

The best way to follow the rules is to know the rules. You can easily stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations in the cryptocurrency market by setting up Google Alerts. This will allow Google to send you email notifications when something new is published online regarding your chosen topic. Setting up Google Alerts for the terms: cyrpto accounting, crypto tax, crypto law, and crypto compliance will be very helpful.

Also, consider adding an alert specialized for your state so that you can have localized information as well.

Stay Organized

Learning more about cryptocurrency will mean nothing if you don’t find a way to stay organized with your knowledge. Developing a reliable system for handling crypto can make it much more manageable. While it might take a lot of work and effort to set up a good system, it will pay off in the end. You will have much quicker access to the complex information of crypto.

Create an Automated Process

Manually inputting information from every transaction or account is practically impossible when it comes to crypto. With automation revolutionizing the accounting industry, why not make the crypto process automated and save yourself some trouble?

The world of crypto runs incredibly fast, and when it comes to finances, crypto moves significantly faster than traditional finances. As a bonus, using automation can help you to reduce your error rate.

While cryptocurrency can be overwhelming, it can also be rewarding. Set aside some time to study up on the topic, set alerts, and organize your knowledge and documents that relate to crypto. In the end, it will help you to turn a stressful topic into one that’s much more relaxed.

You may also enjoy, Blockchain and Financial Reporting

ai technology

How AI Technology is Helping Today’s CFO

AI technology is taking the “work” out of busy work thanks to its ability to make many job functions easier. It has truly revolutionized the world of corporate finance. AI can run through massive amounts of data and find relevant patterns and trends that may have otherwise been missed.

Here are a few ways that AI technology is helping CFOs:

Predictive Analytics

Human eyes can’t compare to AI in speed, detail and accuracy. AI can spot correlations between things that may otherwise seem unrelated and can also help to spot emerging trends. Not only that, but AI can give you the exact steps needed so that you can react to those trends appropriately.

Saving the Company Money

With company finances, any uncertainty in appraisals can cost the business millions of dollars. Using AI can help to remove those uncertain variables and give a more accurate reading. It can also remove the human bias and errors.

When applied to corporate finance business planning, AI can help to determine short term and long term goals for the company as well as help attain them. With the system always learning and evaluating the business, it can find the best ways to optimize profit margins.

Stopping Internal Fraud

With company embezzlement usually being an inside job, it can often go undetected. They can also make fraud as unnoticeable as possible because the perpetrator knows how to hide their tracks.

Thanks to AI, expense data reports are very accurate. With a careful eye, a CFO can analyze the data and detect suspicious activity.

AI technology has also advanced far enough that it can help to predict common behavioral patterns of employees. This allows a CFO to foresee possible fraud risks and put a stop to them before they happen.

As science and AI increase in their capabilities, they become more integrated into our financial companies. They not only help CFO’s to maximize profit margins but also help to stop fraud and protect the company as well. CFO’s should continue to observe AI advancements so that they can be adopted into their companies as soon as possible.

Click here to learn more about the Digital Future of the Accounting Industry.

excel tips

More Excel Tips for Accountants

Excel is one of the most widely used programs in the accounting industry. While most finance professionals have a general understanding of the program, there is always room to learn a few more Excel tips and tricks that make using Excel a little easier.

Fill Cells Quickly

One of the most helpful Excel tips is learning how to fill cells as quickly as possible. You can format rows, columns, and various cells. Once you’ve created the format you like the best, you can apply it to other cells quickly by using the painter function. You can accomplish this by double-clicking on the format painter icon. You can then lock the function and single-click on any parts of the spreadsheet that you want to format.

Additionally, for larger portions of data, you can use this series of quick-fill functions:

  • Time Format: Ctrl+Shift+@
  • Date Format: Ctrl+Shift+#
  • Currency Format: Ctrl+Shift+$
  • Percentage Format: Ctrl+Shift+%
  • Scientific/exponential Form Format: Ctrl+Shift+^

Splice Data

Splicing is a helpful function that allows you to filter data quickly and easily. To do this, select any range in a table or PivotTable, and then go to Insert > “Slicer,” in the top right corner. Finish by selecting the column you would like to splice.

Formula-Free

Creating equations can be time-consuming. Fortunately, Excel 2019 allows you to get a sum without a formula. To do so, click anywhere inside the Excel table. Then press Ctrl+Shift+T, and Excel will add the total to your total row. This allows you to quickly access the sum without having to provide an equation that may only be used once in the entire document.

Hide Zero Values

In a large spreadsheet, hiding the zero values can come in handy. You’ll be able to evaluate the data more efficiently without seeing values that mean nothing. To hide zero values, click the “File” drop-down menu, and choose “Options.” Then select “Advanced” from the left-hand menu and uncheck the box for “Show a zero in cells that have zero value.”

For additional Excel tips, check out Excel for Budgeting & Planning

erp system upgrade

Is It Time for an ERP System Upgrade?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are used to streamline functions in HR, finance, and supply chain management. Essentially, the system should enable the processes to run smoother and have a positive impact on production.    However, as with any system, ERPs must be upgraded occasionally in order to ensure that only the best technology is being used. Because the transition period can be complicated, it’s important to ensure that you’re actually ready for the upgrade and that your company is in the best position to accomplish it. Here are a few signs that your business will benefit from an ERP system upgrade:

Low Productivity

One of the first signs that you need an ERP system upgrade is that your team is suffering from low productivity across the board. For example, without proper systems in place to streamline tasks, much of your team’s time might be being spent working around issues and on mundane tasks. An upgrade will ensure that they don’t have to get mired down in tedious processes, thus increasing productivity.

Your Current System is Complicated

Have you noticed that nobody on your team really knows how to use the ERP to its fullest capacity? This could be because it is just too complicated. Remember, these systems should simplify and not muddle.

If your employees would rather use outdated methods than your system, then this could mean that they simply don’t see the benefit in the current ERP. Take time to talk to them about what they would like to see in an upgrade and then incorporate those changes appropriately.

Your ERP is Not Cloud-Based

Most companies are resorting to a cloud-based ERP system. Keep in mind; the cloud system offers more upgrades and options than other non-cloud-based solutions. Not to mention, keeping your business tied to a local server may be putting your company at unnecessary risk. It may feel overwhelming to make the leap, but there are training solutions that will help you better understand this option.

If you’re ready for an ERP system upgrade, check out these Questions to Ask Before an ERP upgrade.

blockchain technology

The Rise of Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency

You may have noticed a slight shift in the terminology used in recent finance job postings. Included in many new requirements is now a need for an understanding of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. This new jargon can sometimes put some people off simply because they have no idea what it is or why it’s so important. As positions start to require more understanding of this new technology, the more important it is for the finance industry to acquaint itself with it and prepare for this shift.

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain is essentially a chain of data and information that increases as more information is added to it.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency. You may have heard of Bitcoin, which is a type of cryptocurrency. The transactions of this type of currency are stored in a blockchain. Because cryptocurrency has gained more traction, more companies are classifying it as a form of payment.

How Can Companies Benefit from Adopting this Technology?

One of the more attractive benefits of adopting this technology early is that it offers more transparency and faster access. You can create smart contracts without the need for a third party because the blockchain can store the information. Ultimately, this could mean that business is conducted faster, but with the same level of protection.

What Can Employees Do?

Of course, employees will have to adjust in order to fully incorporate blockchain technology in the workplace. For starters, finance professionals should seek out certification opportunities in blockchain. Familiarizing yourself as early as possible will put you ahead of the curve. You may also gain some insight by taking additional college courses or volunteering your time with organizations that have already implemented blockchain technology.

What Can Employers Do?

Likewise, employers must also adjust if they want to include this technology in their company. For starters, facilitate collaboration with IT and other departments that focus on blockchain technology. Working together early can help remove some of the issues that arise. Additionally, when hiring new employees, focus on individuals who may have a basic understanding, but may require additional training. Remember, this is a new skill set that not many people have yet.

For more Blockchain information, check out Blockchain and Financial Reporting

technology skills

Increase Your Worth with 3 Technology Skills

Possessing big data skills will set you apart from the crowd in the finance industry. According to recent polls, there is a massive gap between the need for advanced technology skills and the number of finance professionals who have them. If you want to make yourself more marketable and earn more money, then these are the technology skills you need to have:

Operational Analysis

Learning operational analysis allows you to review machine data and business data to create functional solutions for the company. The incredible statistic behind this skill is that 82% of financing and accounting managers indicate that this is a highly sought-after skill set, but only 28% of the workforce has this particular talent. Learn this skill, and you are sure to be in high demand!

Data Mining and Extraction

The technique of data mining and extraction allows people to evaluate big data and then identify patterns and outcomes that could impact customer relationships and improve company efficiency. Again, there is a significant gap in the need for this skillset and the current ability in the workplace.

Identifying Data Trends

There is currently a 29% talent gap when it comes to identifying data trends. Current studies show that identifying data trends is certainly among the most beneficial skills to have. However, less than half of finance teams have a data trends expert. Understanding trends allows professionals the ability to make strategic plans that can remedy current issues and even avoid problems in the future.

Technology Skills Overview

There are a variety of technology skills that are highly sought after in the finance industry. However, there aren’t enough professionals to currently fills those roles. This indicates that people can focus on learning these new skillsets and then not only become more marketable in the marketplace but could even ask for higher pay.

Professionals in the finance industry must be up to date with the latest in-demand technology skills. If you are lacking, then it’s time to look into training opportunities so you can set yourself apart from the rest.

You may also find The Now-Gen CFO a helpful tool.

ERP Upgrade

Questions to Ask Before an ERP Upgrade

Are you considering taking advantage of the latest features and improvements available from performing an ERP upgrade? If you currently have an older ERP system, chances are good that your system might not have the capacity to stay on-top of the growing needs of your business, hampering its development.

While it may be necessary, an ERP upgrade can be challenging and expensive, to say the least. If you’re considering an upgrade, you’ll want to evaluate the following questions.

What are you trying to achieve?

The intent of an upgrade should always be to simplify and streamline—essentially make life easier. Evaluate your current system and make sure that you have a clear understanding of what you should enhance or remove with an upgrade. You’ll find out quickly if it’ll be worth it or not.

Is there any training involved?

When you incorporate an upgraded ERP system, everybody will have to learn how to use it. You’ll want to examine what kind of training material will be necessary, how it will be executed, and what the outcome of the training should look like. You’ll want to put a plan in place that identifies which employees will be trained and whether those people are qualified to then train the rest of the staff. Experienced Financial Systems Implementations Consultants can help keep implementations on track.

What is involved in product selection?

You’ll need team members involved in the product selection of an upgrade system. This means that those people will have to take time out of their day to evaluate different options and determine which is right for the company. You’ll want to consider how their divided attention will impact the company’s bottom line and if you should move other team members to take over portions of their workload.

How can you make the transition seamless?

You don’t want to go into an upgrade process without proper planning. You’ll need to have a clear understanding of who will be involved in the initial process, how long that process will take, and how production will be impacted during the transition period.

ERP Upgrade Overview

As with anything else, organization and planning are critical when it comes to an ERP upgrade. Put a bit of forethought into it before you begin, and the process is likely to go much more smoothly for the company and everybody else involved. 

financial management systems

Evaluating Financial Management Systems

It’s no secret that many finance and accounting departments rely on financial management systems to reduce the burden on their employees. Typically, these financial management systems streamline a variety of manual practices that plague the accounting and reporting departments. However, before you consider implementing a financial management system, you should ask yourself a few questions.

Will the New System be Compliant?

One of the most difficult things about a new financial management system is that it can create a ripple effect of disruption. So, it’s important for companies to consider this risk fully before moving forward with the implementation.

What Kind of Financial Management Systems Do We Need?

Just because a financial management system exists, does not mean that it’s right for your company. What works for one company may very well lead to challenges and issues for another. Evaluate where you could streamline and determine if a financial management system would create a steadier workplace. Remember, this type of system should solve problems and not create them.

Is Support Available?

Before you commit to software, make sure that the vendor has a good support program. Sometimes, vendors aren’t available down the line, so you’ll have to be sure that you not only have a plan for support, but also a backup plan in case the first one falls through. This can be a tedious process, but it’s better to plan than deal with issues as they arise.

Overview

Keep in mind, any system that you choose will be somewhat disruptive at first. The idea here is to make the transition as painless as possible. Go over the basics of what you need and then choose the system that works best for you. Ultimately, this will determine whether or not the system is actually a help or a hindrance to your company.

You may also enjoy reading, Business Continuity Management

data breaches

Combating Data Breaches

We live in a time where it’s pretty typical to get notified of data breaches. It’s not something that anyone wants to hear, but it’s important that we know where our information stands today so we can better protect it in the future.

Although, we may be familiar with data breaches, often, our understanding of what causes them is limited. It’s important to have a solid understanding of the source of the breach in order to be better prepared and possibly prevent it in the future.

Where Do Data Breaches Start?

At the core of a data breach is always the same thing: a person. An individual who is tech-savvy enough to break into systems and extract sensitive information. Or, it can also stem from people not protecting their information or accidentally providing their information too readily to individuals who have malicious intents.

What Companies Can Do

One of the best things that companies can do to protect information is to ensure that all employees have proper training. One of the most common tactics of hackers is to create a phishing email, which then leads to a person giving up their information. At that point, the information can be used in a variety of ways.

Fortunately, since training programs have been introduced, breaches via phishing emails have dropped drastically. The hope is that not only will people avoid interacting with this type of scheme, but that they will also report it when it does occur.

Evolution of Data Breaches

Unfortunately, one of the most frustrating things about data breaches is that the moment we think we’ve finally put a lid on some of the common tactics, another method is created. This is why ongoing training is essential.

Hacking may change over time, but we should always be willing to learn those tactics so that we can protect ourselves from moving forward. It’s less about knowing all of the ways a person can accomplish a data breach and more about what we can do once it happens. 

For more tips regarding data breaches, check out: Building a Cybersecurity Plan for the Unknown.