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Business

Accounts Payable: The CFO’s secret weapon during economic uncertainty

Accounts Payable: The CFO’s secret weapon during economic uncertainty 3

Accounts Payable: The CFO’s secret weapon during economic uncertainty 4By Phil Douglas at Compleat Software, the purchase to pay software house

The very real possibility of a recession mixed with record-breaking inflation is a serious cause for concern for UK CFOs, with many wondering what measures may well need to be taken to try and mitigate the impending storm, and as businesses look at every single possible department and function to help to weather the storm, financial leaders can take confidence in an unlikely hero.

With a focus on what’s coming out of the business, now is Accounts Payable’s (AP) time to shine. Not known as the most flamboyant department, AP teams are perfectly suited to satisfy two words that will whet the appetite of any CFO today – saving money.

Accounts payable departments have a golden opportunity to highlight where cost savings can be felt, as well as opportunities for growth. By strategically moving the accounts payable function from cost centre to strategic contributor, businesses can ease the crunch on the bottom line.

Armed with financial data and reporting tools, AP teams can become champions of change, transforming spend activities into cost savings opportunities.

But where should CFOs start their masked crusade? Phil Douglas from Compleat discusses possible avenues CFOs should explore to help their organisation mitigate the impending storm.

Moving with the eye of the storm

In these uncertain times, CFOs are responding to higher costs by passing on price rises, improving cash flow management, and reduction in margins.

These steps are essential. But do they go deep enough?

CFOs must look to make their businesses as recession-proof as possible. Driving digital transformation, getting comfortable with communication, and adopting a creative mindset are key in preparing for economic uncertainty.

Technology can support all of this, but while managing cash carefully is a solid strategy, a future-forward CFO should also be looking for alternative revenue streams, such as taking advantage of pay early saving opportunities, better financing options and special offers.

Sometimes the answers may be right in front of you, and this is why it is crucial to transition the mindsets of finance teams and investigate in areas you may just never have thought to…

A surprising source of hidden profits may just be more simple than it seems…

An important (and low cost!) tool to help avoid financial uncertainty is actually rethinking your reporting.

Opening the door to hidden profits

Finance leaders no longer have the luxury of waiting for all the data before confronting uncertainty.

Real-time reporting, better forecasting by automating live data and insights can and should be used as tools to tackle economic uncertainty.

Focusing on AP automation software saves businesses both time and money. Automation cuts out the time and cost of manual processing, while reducing invoice processing costs and helping your business go paperless.

Automation should be a prime focus for CFOs – they should be (if not already) automating core business processes, in order to reduce the risk of external factors which unsteady their businesses, whilst working to foster long-term resilience.

For CFOs, they must ensure that their workforces are dynamic and can adapt to new ways of working.  Workplaces, their leaders and staff have already undergone seismic shifts within the last few years. CFOs must establish new processes and systems for their teams, as well as the wider business, that enable seamless collaboration and coordination for the years to come.

Providing certainty in uncertain times

CFOs by the very nature of their role will always face difficult decisions in their quest to balance protecting their business in the here and now, while continuing to ensure the long-term strategy and goals are set and achievable to deal with the increased risks, in a challenging economic climate with the need to take measured risks that build the business.

The rocksteady CFO is well-versed in managing change, risk and financial strategy risk and change – as long as they have access to the accurate data, which relies on having the right technology at its core.

As they continue developing into the CFO of the future, however, their constant struggle will always be to manage the increased risk in a challenging economic climate with the need to take measured risks that build the business.

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