Often when companies attempt to use new technology in their business, they don’t consider how it will change the culture of their workplace.
The very reason technology solutions, such as financial planning software, are implemented in an organisation is to solve a particular problem or series of problems with the current way of doing things.
Naturally, this means the new technology will affect the current processes in the business.
And, to make the implementation effective, staff will have to embrace these new processes.
For financial planning solutions, this culture change must be led by the CFO and incorporates important areas like processing and valuing data, gatekeeping, and building transparency.
Processing and Valuing Data
A key part of using financial planning software is to create an integrated holistic planning process that allows different departments access to the organisation’s financial plans in real-time.
Which sounds great, but what happens when someone in one department changes one of their numbers and that change flows through and updates the current live plan?
What about when you are relying on different people for different sources of data, which has all been created differently and using different terminology?
These two scenarios highlight the need to create a culture around any new technology.
With financial planning solutions, creating an understanding of the importance of data integrity is key.
As a CFO, how do you manage this – particularly outside your department?
Start with gaining a consensus on the terminology used by the business and agreeing to standard definitions for these terms that will be used by everyone.
It is also critical to create a culture where data is seen as an asset, one with, potentially, tremendous value.
If your workplace is committed to data integrity, then you can trust the source data and be confident that the reports from your financial planning software are accurate.
Part of the process in ensuring the integrity of the data being feed into your financial planning software is having the ability to gatekeep.
Without having gatekeepers in place, changes to the data made by one person can filter through the whole planning and reporting process. Not a problem if the change is correct – but if it’s not, then the end plan can now be inaccurate without anyone realising it.
By setting up gatekeepers, source data can be checked and approved before it is added to the overall financial plan.
This adds a level of control and helps prevent inaccurate data ending up in the financial plan.
Essentially this creates a planning process that is both integrated and disconnected. Giving the flexibility to both involve everyone and maintain the integrity of the live financial reporting.
Technology can, particularly when it involves replacing spreadsheets, bring a layer of transparency to the organisation that has been missing.
While extremely beneficial for the business, it is an adjustment for staff.
Therefore, any new technology deployment is best implemented in stages.
Start simple and add additional layers and levels of complexity as you need to.
This approach has a number of benefits and allows the workplace culture to change incrementally.
If you’re starting with the simplest piece first and what will give you the biggest return on your investment in your financial planning software, it is much easier to get organisation-wide buy-in and adapt your processes to this new technology.
This allows you to build transparency and get the most out of your financial planning solution.
Overall, while it is important to understand the impact new technology can have on workplace culture, this shouldn’t be a reason to not embrace it.
New technology, such as deploying a financial planning solution, will force you to change your systems and process and can take time to bed in.
However, the benefits of easily processing data, building transparency, and providing a holistic plan for the whole organisation make it worth it.