Why Finance Operations Is Key to Your Digital Transformation Goals
Here at Leapfin, we have a rare perspective into the world of finance. My background is in finance and I've personally designed the finance technology stack for some of the fastest growing companies in the world.
My experience begins at Zynga which scaled incredibly quickly from a small startup to close to $1B publicly traded company. Along the way, Zynga acquired more than a dozen game developers and amassed a fast-transacting customer base from all over the world.
One of the challenges that my team and I encountered was being able to answer business critical questions in real-time and with precision.
To answer these questions, I would need to assemble a team of data analysts, pull numerous SQL reports, and access multiple internal databases. The process would take multiple weeks. Then, my COO would have a follow-up question that could potentially take several more weeks to answer.
But right now, during the “great digital acceleration race” in the words of KPMG and Forrester, finance leaders do not have the luxury of time. There’s a need to answer questions faster, in real-time.
How Finance Operations (FinOps) Can Help
At Leapfin, one of the most common questions we get is how Finance Operations can help finance teams at fast growing companies.
Finance Operations increases the efficiency of and drives better results in finance teams. FinOps manages the financial technology and processes necessary to ensure finance teams can have easy, real-time access to financial data. Finance Operations is also responsible for managing and scaling the complex financial systems at their respective organizations.
Finance Operations is a core component of the world's most successful companies, and below are some of the reasons why we firmly believe in this movement.
The world’s highest performing sales and marketing teams have operations teams backing them
In hyper growth companies, sales and marketing teams need to be nimble and move quickly. It’s this pressure that gave rise to the sales and marketing operations functions.
Finance teams need operations muscle, too.
Yes, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are available. But these systems are manual and aren’t equipped to distill avalanches of insight that people and technical systems need to translate into business-ready narratives.
Finance Operations help finance leaders better respond to the needs of the market.
A strong finance foundation supported by FinOps is essential for your digital transformation
According to a recent survey from Twilio, 79% of executives are increasing their budgets for digital transformation.
In other words, CFOs already know that they need to invest in modernization.
“We’ve had to rethink every type of interaction that consumers have with their favorite brands and vendors,” Twilio chief customer officer Glenn Weinstein said in a recent TechFirst podcast. “One silver lining on this very, very dark cloud has been that it has accelerated companies’ impetus to do digital transformation, to make a change, and specifically to accelerate communications through digital means.”
Remember, FinOps is a digital transformation imperative — particularly with regards to the epidemic of burnout in finance.
Ensure that your people and technology are aligned
The future of business leadership is multidimensional — functional leaders rely on each other to make their best judgment calls.
Behind every successful product, there’s a team of people who brought it to life across product, marketing, engineering, customer support groups and more. Every decision culminates into what ultimately becomes customer-facing. United around facts, teams are in their best possible position to chart out new strategic paths for the organization.
The FinOps team is the liaison that ensures smooth communication and collaboration between finance and other functional groups. This level of structure ensures stronger revenue alignment through the entire organization.
The bottom line
Don’t fall into the trap of working harder rather than smarter. Finance leaders need to be “doing less” and instead, freeing up mental bandwidth to ensure that a business’s ship remains steady.
CFOs need to expand their perspectives beyond assuming the worst and playing it safe. An accurate financial picture enables leaders to make more empowered, forward-looking (and forward-moving) decisions.
A Finance Operations mindset is necessary to navigate this shift. By setting up the right foundation for a dedicated role for your finance systems, managing key stakeholders, and having the right tech stack, you’re able to develop something larger and more meaningful than the sum of its parts.