Technology is changing what business expects from C-level executives. Human resources departments now help generate revenue, driving some experts to call for CHRO positions; meanwhile data security, management and standardization pressures are leading many companies — including SAP — to install chief data officers.
Chief financial officers will still be the top executives responsible for their organizations’ financial concerns, from planning to projects, and from cash flow to risk. But CFOs will continue to see their burdens grow dramatically as technology, compliance and their fellow executives demand more from them.
“CFOs will need to streamline and automate their recurring activities and invest continuously in new technologies, especially to fulfill accounting and financial reporting functions,” The Wall Street Journal predicted Monday. “And [they will] often act as the CEO’s alter ego.”
Consistent with WSJ’s crystal ball, SAP’s Luka Mucic is already expanding the CFO’s communications duties, forecasting last year that the company will generate more revenue from the cloud than from traditional software licenses by 2020.
But 2015 will also be a big year for CFOs and SAP, as the company showcases its “biggest presence ever” for SAP Simple Finance at SAPPHIRE NOW (@SAPPHIRENOW) next week, according to SAP’s Neil Krefsky. SAP announced the launch of SAP Simple Finance during at last year’s conference, and this year customers will discuss how the real-time financial management solution has helped streamline their organizations.
“With more than 350 sessions related to the finance audience and line of business, this is shaping up to be the most important, informative and comprehensive SAPPHIRE NOW ever for finance professionals,” Krefsky said earlier this month. “For the first time ever, 100 percent of our theater stage presentations and panel discussions for finance are going be delivered by actual customers presenting their own transformation journeys.”
There’s even a CFO and Finance Executive Agenda of Top 15 Sessions to help attendees dominate the dynamic landscapes of technology and finance — and SAP’s largest conference. The right technology can even help CFOs cut profit-killing costs that are right under their noses.
“If CFOs really understood the costs involved with processing an invoice, it may send them over the edge,” Christopher Rauen said on SAP Business Trends. The proper automation solution “frees up staff to help enforce compliance; drive suppliers off paper to an electronic process and monitor their performance.”
Hearing from finance professionals who have already solved these problems can help CFOs and others better understand what their next steps should be, as well as how their roles are changing.
Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher, and check out the SAP Simple Finance/SAP finance solutions powered by SAP HANA Agenda.
This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.