As the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in a professional services firm, you and your team are responsible for managing the company's financial planning, reporting, risk management and compliance. You play a crucial role in ensuring the firm's financial health and supporting its overall success.
To be effective in this role, you need access to data and information from across your business. Having data in disparate systems or spreadsheets, managed by different stakeholders, can make it impossible for finance teams to pull together the information that they need to make business-critical decisions or fully understand the firm’s financial situation.
This is the reality for many CFOs and financial leaders working in professional services firms today. For example, according to the 4th Annual EMEA and APAC Deltek Clarity Study, 86% of professional services firms are completely or somewhat reliant on manual data entry or spreadsheets to manage their project financial data.
How can you be confident in your decision-making if you are working with half of the story, and have data that may be inaccurate due to human error or simply outdated? And how can your leadership team rely on you to steer the business in the right direction?
In our white paper about connecting customer, project and financial data, we look at the benefits of integrating data across a business. But how will you specifically benefit as a finance leader?
Benefit from Data Integration
Why Professional Services Firms Should Connect Client, Project & Finance Data
8 Ways Finance Professionals Benefit from Integrating Client and Project Data with Financial Systems
Data integration across a business can provide significant benefits to CFOs and finance teams by improving their ability to make informed decisions, streamline financial processes, and enhance overall financial performance.
- Enhanced Financial Visibility: Connecting the data across your firm will allow you and your team to access real-time and accurate financial information from various departments within the business. This increased visibility into financial metrics, such as revenue, expenses, cash flow, and profitability, at both the business and project level, will enable you to monitor the financial health of the company more effectively, track relevant key performance indicators (KPIs), and confidently plan for the future.
- Better Decision-Making: Integrating your client, project, and financial data will provide you with a comprehensive view of the company's operations and performance, which in turn will allow you to make data-driven decisions. You will be able to align these decisions with your firm’s strategic goals, identify opportunities for growth, and mitigate potential risks.
- Increased Efficiency and Productivity: Connecting the data across your professional services firm, whether through the implementation of a project-based ERP or by connecting CRM and project management solutions to your existing financial system, will enable you to eliminate manual data entry and redundant tasks. This streamlining of financial operations speeds up key processes and frees up time and resources, allowing you and your team to focus on more value-adding activities, such as financial analysis and strategic planning. A survey by Ventana Research found that 88% of organizations that use extensive automation in managing the close of their financials can finish within six business days versus just 40% that use little or no automation.
- Improved Forecasting, Resource Management and Budgeting: Having access to a 360-degree view of the data across your business will enable you and your finance team to access current and historical financial data and performance metrics. And better visibility into pipeline and upcoming opportunities and projects will support better planning and forecasting and resource and budget management.
- Enhanced Compliance and Risk Management: Integrating the data across your firm will help ensure that financial information is consistent and accurate across finance, project management and delivery teams, reducing the risk of errors and discrepancies. This level of data integrity is particularly important for meeting regulatory requirements and maintaining compliance with accounting standards.
- Streamlined Reporting: You and your team probably spend a lot of time generating various financial reports for leadership, stakeholders, investors, and regulatory bodies. Data integration and having everything in one system simplifies the process of gathering and consolidating financial data from different sources, making financial reporting more efficient and reliable and less time-consuming.
- Cost Savings: Data integration can increase efficiency across a number of business areas and processes which can lead to cost savings. For example, improving resource allocation and budget management can lead to a reduction in project delivery costs. Having more accurate resource management and project planning can boost utilization and project profitability. And having a 360-degree view of business-critical data can allow for better cost monitoring, reducing the risk of financial mismanagement and overspending.
- Improved Cash Flow Management: Integrated data provides a clearer picture of cash flow patterns and working capital management. CFOs and finance leaders like yourself can use this information to optimize cash flow, manage liquidity effectively, and make strategic decisions about investments and financing. Your teams should also be able to streamline cash flow with better, more accurate billing to speed up payment and improve client relationships.
Get Started with Connecting the Data Across Your Professional Services Firm
These eight benefits highlight the opportunities available to financial professionals and their firms through integrating their client and project information with their financial systems. Firms that are willing to invest in technology to integrate, automate, and boost visibility will see improvements across their entire business and projects.
With 45% of professional services firms surveyed for the Deltek Clarity Study confirming that investing in technology is one of their top priorities, this is clearly on a lot of business leaders’ radars. Looking forward, it’s the firm that’s ready to embrace technology that will find itself a cut above the rest.
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