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Is Covid-19 a necessary shock to the system for financial automation?

Is Covid-19 a necessary shock to the system for financial automation?

By Andrew Hayden, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Winshuttle

When it comes to transforming finance through the implementation of shared service centres (SSCs), increased use of automation tops the list of key focus areas for many finance directors and CFOs. Certainly, that’s what research by Thomson Reuters and SSON – the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network – suggests. In their survey, 74% said automation was a key focus, compared to the next most prevalent factor, analytics, being prioritised by just 47%.

Considering this, why have few finance teams grasped the importance of automation? According to our own research at Winshuttle, 75% of businesses that have adopted shared services, predominantly for finance, have still to realise the full benefits of automating their manual administrative processes.

We interviewed 100 senior managers of enterprise SSCs in the UK and Ireland. 98% told us they saw considerable value in ‘intelligent automation’ in their back office, however, only 34% have so far gone live with automation to help them be more efficient.

What we commonly find in these situations is that organisations take the first big leap to back-office efficiency by merging disparate finance teams into one shared service. Then they put the brakes on. Their consolidation of finance functions creates some degree of efficiency, such as reducing the use of different finance systems or avoiding multiple teams doing the same job. However, these SSCs are often just repeating existing inefficient processes, simply in one location rather than many!

Andrew Hayden

Andrew Hayden

This is only the tip of the iceberg from an efficiency perspective. Realising true ROI from shared services requires a ‘phase two’ – introducing process reengineering to the newly consolidated function to make it as efficient and effective as possible. While this may not have been a priority for many organisations up to now, Covid-19 has changed the world, and with it, the need for organisations to be as financially lean as possible, for the foreseeable future. On top of this is the fact that many finance workers are now working remotely, adding to the need for improved technology and automation to enable these functions to continue effective operations.

The Bank of England has warned that unemployment will double because of Covid-19 and the UK economy is expected to shrink by 14%, triggering the deepest recession for 300 years. Roughly a fifth of workers have been furloughed and many of those who are working remotely are keen to continue doing so in the future once the Covid-19 crisis is over.

For finance teams and shared services functions this means every ‘dial and gauge’ will need to be adjusted and checked for efficiency. Up to the minute financial visibility will be even more crucial. But organisations will need to walk a tightrope. If they just cut back, they will shrivel. While they’re doing everything to achieve efficiency, they must also find more ways of moving forwards. This can be achieved by businesses bringing artificial intelligence into the business whilst also unlocking the invaluable human intelligence they have at their disposal. Brains must be used for knowledge, not for repeat processes. AI, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and automation platforms must be used to tighten any slack in essential, common processes.

In my view, Covid-19 will be the shock many large corporate finance organisations need to truly embrace intelligent automation. They’ll be forced to look at how they can make their processes super-efficient.

The analyst firm Gartner supports this view with its theory on hyperautomation. “Hyperautomation refers to an approach in which organisations rapidly identify and automate as many business processes as possible. It involves the use of a combination of technology tools, including but not limited to machine learning, packaged software and automation tools to deliver work.”

While RPA tools have been on the market for some time, Gartner references a current “renaissance” led by the development of new and more sophisticated technology offerings and “zeal for operational intelligence”. It states that, “by 2024, organisations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyperautomation technologies with redesigned operational processes.”

A major part of this automation picture for corporate finance teams involves the processes surrounding, and reliant on, the core ERP or finance systems, such as SAP. Many of these enterprise applications require a lot of manual, repetitive work, that can drain morale, lower productivity, and introduce data errors. RPA done correctly ‘takes the robot out of the human,’ saving thousands of hours each year and enabling people to work on higher-value tasks and make a real impact on the business. For example, time savings for some companies, recorded through Winshuttle’s SAP automation solution, include:

  • 95% on entering vendor invoices
  • 83% on changing purchase information requests
  • 98% on entering general ledger account documents
  • 97% on customer credit management changes

What’s key to success with process automation is choosing the correct tools for the job. As indicated by Gartner’s ‘combination of technologies’ message, RPA is not simply a case of adopting one enterprise-wide, ‘generalist’ RPA platform for use in all cases of process improvement. This might be part of the solution, but for RPA related to specialist functions and systems like SAP and finance, dedicated, flexible software platforms designed for purpose, reduces the burden on the organisation to program the system into doing what it wants it to.

Organisations have craved greater efficiency for many years now, but in areas such as finance shared services there is still lots to do. Focused automation solutions offer many of the answers, and Covid-19 in my view is an added, if unfortunate, pressure point that will convince many finance teams to finally make the leap.

Technology

EaseUS Free Data Recovery Software Recover Lost And Erased Documents

EaseUS Free Data Recovery Software Recover Lost And Erased Documents 1

Have you anytime inadvertently masterminded erased or lost data from your work territory or PC? In case along these lines, by then you ought to appreciate the mistake and free for all such a scene causes. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a free data recovery software that is made to encourage your torture. It has a simple to-utilize interface and is anything but difficult to use.

You can recover reports of different sorts going from pictures, messages, mp4 records, and extensively more. The data recovery writing computer programs is freed from any costs and is flawless with various stages. We have recorded down the key preferences and utilization of EaseUS best information recuperation programming to give you a superior comprehension of the item. Rapidly, there are three phases to utilizing this free recovery programming.

EaseUS Free Data Recovery Software Recover Lost And Erased Documents 2

Establishment and Launch

To run the item, you will simply need to present the .exe record. The planning wizard will control you through the undeniable advances, and inside minutes you would have presented the free data recovery programming. The item has an unblemished interface with images at the top corner for express features or requests. An ordinary customer can without a very remarkable stretch change the item as per their necessities.

Examining

In the wake of impelling the free data recovery programming, pick the sort of record you have to recover from the presentation page. Next, you will be drawn closer to pick the drive where you have to play out the compass. Along these lines select the fitting drive or coordinator in like way. EaseUS confines your choice of clear to a lone coordinator or drives.

You can perform two kinds of ranges with EaseUS Data Recovery Software;

Significant Scan

Quick Scan

A quick scope takes commonly less time yet will give limited results. Significant Scan does progressively comprehensive separating of the concentrated on the spot. You can “Passage Scan Status” to save your checked results for quite a while later on.

Restoring of records

In the wake of searching for the principal records select the particular reports and snap onto the restore decision. You can pick all records additionally to restore. The free data recovery programming gives quality features to possible customers. Nevertheless, purchasing absolute programming will open different other helpful features.

Features of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

The data recovery programming makes plate pictures for smart for energetic record recovery. You can recover data from different sorts of contraptions including hard drives, workstations, propelled devices, work regions, and various others. You can use the item for the going with focal points.

Memory Card Data Recovery

USB Drive Data Recovery

PC Data Recovery

Other Digital Devices Data Recovery

EaseUS Data Recovery is a data recovery programming freed from any expenses or subtleties. It’s expected to adhere to different potential incident conditions and outfit you with an all-out response to the issue. Along these lines, if you ever lose some sort of data, directly off the bats don’t freeze. Don’t simply associate the hard drive as you can lose your data forever.

Present EaseUS Data Recovery programming to no end and address all your recovery issues. EaseUS Data Recovery stands separated from its possible adversaries as the item is straightforward, progressed with features, and significantly great with all stages.

Conclusion:

About our PC information, anything can occur. Regardless of our earnest attempts to keep up hard drives and abstain from tapping on obscure connections, mishaps happen constantly. Regardless of whether for individual use or at work, picking the correct information recuperation programming disposes of the pressure-related with lost/erased records.

EaseUS is, as I would like to think, the best in the business. If you appallingly lost a significant document, EaseUS is your smartest option for recuperating it. I trust that you discovered this EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard survey accommodating as you continued looking for dependable recuperation programming.

 

This is a Sponsored Feature.

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Technology

Shining a spotlight on operational resilience and cyber-risk in financial services

Shining a spotlight on operational resilience and cyber-risk in financial services 3

By Miles Tappin, VP of EMEA for ThreatConnect, explores why the financial services industry must build a cyber security strategy in 2020

The new digital landscape has welcomed financial institutions with open arms. Emerging technology such as Artificial intelligence (AI), crypto-currencies and big data have shown widespread benefits throughout the years, particularly how they have driven innovation and change. When it comes to retail banking, fintech providers have quickly taken the chance to offer personalised services to ensure they remain relevant to their target market and stand out among their competitors.

This has been particularly evident with Klarna, now Europe’s most valued fintech firm. Providing payment solutions for online storefronts, consumers are now able to shop and pay later with top retailers including the likes of H&M, Ikea and Zara. This is just one example of how easy it has become to successfully and strategically disrupt the payments sector.

With several new players entering the banking scene, traditional financial institutions are making sure that they stay one step ahead and are developing robust digital ecosystems that deliver omnichannel service models. However, this comes at a price. As technological change becomes part and parcel to remaining relevant in the sector, the industry needs to be aware of the cyber security challenges that may present themselves and how to overcome them.

2020: The year for cybercriminals targeting financial services

2020 has become a definitive year for cybersecurity in the financial services industry. Financial institutions are a lucrative target – they hold highly sensitive information and have a mandate to protect the personal information of their customers. It started with an unprecedented attack against Travelex where hackers successfully took some of the currency providers offline for nearly a month. Then came Coronavirus which sparked a new wave of malware and phishing threats. Research from VMware Carbon Black Cloud revealed that threats against financial institutions have surged by 238% since the start of the pandemic.

The renewed interest from cyber criminals comes at a time when regulators are paying close attention to the resilience of the sector. After a string of IT failures and breaches, financial organisations in the UK have been given a mandate from regulators to improve operational resilience. This means ensuring business models can withstand disruptive events from hackers or adversaries and quickly recover to protect the stability of financial systems.

In December 2019, the UK’s financial regulators published a series of consultation papers outlining their proposed approach to achieving greater operational resilience. The proposals suggested that financial institutions will be required to map out the systems and processes that support business services in order to identify any potential vulnerabilities that would pose a risk to the stability of the UK financial system or the firm’s standing.

Working together in tandem

Where cybersecurity used to be a classic back-office concern, it’s now a central part of digital strategies and a key pillar of both reputation and customer retention – financial legislation leaves no room for failure. All financial institutions need to ensure they have full visibility of their systems and can detect any potential threats.

The challenge for financial institutions is making the security tools they have purchased separately work together in tandem. Security teams buy a firewall, an email filter, threat intelligence feeds, antivirus software or enhanced endpoint protection, and whatever else they need individually. Each of them does a good job but they don’t talk to each other and valuable time is lost tending to individual systems that become a burden to run. At the same time, running multiple security systems is expensive. The more systems you have, the more highly skilled staff you need to manage them, and they’re few and far between.

The importance of sharing across communities

To reduce complexity and simplify decision making, financial organisations need to unify processes and technology to harness the security intelligence that comes from across their own security programmes and external sources to drive down risk. However, no financial institution can tackle the problem alone. Experienced threat actors using advanced techniques are constantly targeting the financial sector. The industry needs to come together as a whole to foster a sense of collaboration and data sharing.

Miles Tappin

Miles Tappin

In the same way that financial institutions have introduced open banking to deliver a fairer service to customers, the same needs to apply to security – all parts of the financial ecosystem need to unite and share information to learn from one another and succeed in the fight against adversaries that operate across borders.

By sharing alerts on cyber hazards and risk across financial institutions and with law enforcement, government agencies and other relevant authorities, it’s possible to build industry specific insights into cyber security threats and quickly pivot to gain more information on those specific threats and threat actors. By working together, a picture can be painted on threats coming from all manner of malicious activity, from malware to ransomware, to phishing and software vulnerabilities.

Creating a single source of intelligence

Having the right intelligence is not enough to ensure that intelligence is turned into action. Breaking down information and process silos across security teams allows financial organisation to analyse and act on the most pertinent information. Everyone has access to the risk and threats that matter most, and orchestration and automation of response helps overwhelmed security teams prioritise response plans and improve efficiencies in their security programme.

Integrating internal security tools and technologies, while also connecting to external sources of intelligence, creates a single source of intelligence that feeds operations and enables organisations to direct action against the threats that matter most. The outcomes of those actions further feed intelligence, providing the ability to further refine the efficacy of the entire security lifecycle.

This approach provides a continuous feedback loop for the people, processes and technologies that make up the security programme. It allows financial institutions to keep up with threat actors that have consistently adapted their methods to profit at the expense of the financial industry. Something that won’t stop anytime soon.

While financial services institutions tend to operate with security front of mind, there is still an opportunity to collaborate more within the industry and increase intelligence sharing, so CSOs and CTOs can understand as much as they can about the threats they are facing. For example, what types or variants of malware have been used to steal, delete, or ransom personal identifiable information or IP specific to financial services? What ransomware has been used in attacks against other organisations within the industry? How does this ransomware work and how does it ransom the targeted data? Ultimately, the more you know, the better and quicker you’ll be able to respond to a new threat and remain protected.

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Technology

Blackline reveals CEO succession plan

Blackline reveals CEO succession plan 4

By President & COO Marc Huffman appointed CEO as of Jan. 1st, 2021;
Founder Therese Tucker to serve as executive chair

Accounting automation software leader BlackLine, Inc. (Nasdaq: BL) today announced that the board of directors has elected Marc Huffman as chief executive officer, effective January 1st, 2021.  Mr. Huffman currently serves as president and chief operating officer.  Therese Tucker, who has served as CEO since founding BlackLine in 2001, will continue to serve on the company’s board as executive chair.

A seasoned SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) executive with more than 25 years of experience driving growth at successful software companies, Huffman joined BlackLine in early 2018 as chief operating officer.  He was named president in February 2020, leading the company’s worldwide sales, marketing, technology and all customer-facing organizations.  Since Huffman joined, BlackLine has scaled its sales and customer success teams, strategically repositioned its go-to-market plan, completed a global reseller agreement with SAP, established a subsidiary in Japan, and entered into a number of strategic alliances with the world’s leading consulting and advisory firms.

Prior to BlackLine, Huffman served as president of worldwide sales and distribution at NetSuite.  During his 14-year tenure, NetSuite grew from $3 million to $1 billion in annual revenue and became recognized as a global SaaS powerhouse.

“I’ve been so pleased with the leadership Marc has demonstrated over the past two and a half years, most recently driving our response to the COVID-19 pandemic – mitigating disruption to the business and our customers.  Because of Marc’s leadership, skill set, cultural alignment and stellar performance, BlackLine is in a better position to grow and scale than ever before,” said Ms. Tucker.  “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved at BlackLine and believe Marc is the kind of leader I can trust to take our customer-centric values, vision and growth to the next level.  I am also thrilled that in addition to providing strategic oversight as executive chair, I will now have more time to focus on the areas I love most – product innovation and customer success.”

The announced transition is part of a multi-year succession plan that has involved seeking potential successors, bringing the right person on board, seeing that person excel, and Tucker and Huffman working methodically together over several years to build out the leadership team and strategic growth plan and ensure values were aligned.

“I am ready and excited for this next step.  BlackLine is a special place with a strong culture and I am looking forward to leading the company through its next phase of growth,” said Huffman.  “We’ve got the team, the plan, and now we are focused on execution as we continue to scale the business and make BlackLine an indispensable platform for Finance & Accounting organizations globally.”

Commenting on the CEO and executive chair changes, John Brennan, BlackLine’s chairman of the board, said, “We are excited to announce Marc’s appointment as CEO.  His experience successfully expanding and scaling NetSuite into new strategic and geographical markets is invaluable as BlackLine continues to penetrate what we believe is still an untapped market.  Coupled with his proven track record at BlackLine we are confident that, under Marc’s leadership, the company’s momentum, growth and success will only accelerate.”

Mr. Brennan added, “Therese has been a strong and inspirational leader since she founded BlackLine just over 19 years ago.  Her unwavering determination and commitment to both customers and employees has been the driving force behind the company’s incredible journey from start-up to global market leader.  We look forward to having her serve as executive chair, a position in which she will continue to shape the future of the company she has built from the ground up.”

Upon Tucker’s assumption of the executive chair role, Brennan will serve as the board’s lead outside director.

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