How the cloud is changing the role of the CFO

How the cloud is changing the role of the CFO

Just as cloud computing is changing IT infrastructures and processes, it is also changing the job descriptions of many employees outside the tech department. Traditionally, a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) was expected to manage the financial risks of the company and keep a close eye on monthly revenues and balance sheets. However, CFOs now have slightly different responsibilities than they had only a decade ago.

Managing IT expenses

Technology has become a significant expense for businesses. Hardware, individual software licenses, and full-time IT staff can cost companies tens of thousands of dollars. For this reason, CFOs need to be more involved when it comes to IT spending.

A cloud services like Infrastructure-as-a-Service is an ideal solution for reducing costs because enterprise-grade hardware, up-to-date software, and expertly managed services are available for a low-cost, pay-as-you-go subscription fee.

Making sense of data

CFOs are now tasked with making sense of overwhelming amounts of data. According to IBM, 2.5 billion GB of data is produced every day. There is simply too much information to collect and analyze.

With cloud-based ERP software, every department can easily upload expense reports, invoices, performance metrics, and other key information to a centralized database, giving CFOs access to robust, real-time information. By having access to all the data they need in a single dashboard, CFOs can easily review the company’s finances, discover new sources of revenue, and identify underperforming projects.

Driving business strategy

In the past, the CFO’s main priority was to produce quarterly financial reports on how the company was doing as a whole -- what was sold, how much was spent, and how wide were the profit margins. Now that they have cloud-based business intelligence tools to complete those tasks in minutes, CFOs can spend more time forecasting financial growth and overseeing different projects.

For example, cloud-based ERP software Sage Intacct’s accounting features allow CFOs to track how their teams are spending their money and how well each employee is being utilized. And by monitoring such data in real time, they can assess whether teams are going over-budget and quickly allocate the necessary resources. Sage Intacct also records the true costs of previous projects to help CFOs make smarter budget assignments in the future.

Meeting new accounting standards

As financial gatekeepers, CFOs must make sure all financial activities comply with the latest accounting regulations. The recent ASC 606 and IFRS 15 guidelines, for instance, require all businesses to follow certain revenue recognition practices:

  1. Identify the contract with the customer
  2. List performance obligations and service levels
  3. Determine transaction prices
  4. Set a transaction price for each performance obligation
  5. Recognize revenue when a performance obligation is met

Adhering to these guidelines can be difficult, especially if spreadsheets are still being used to keep track of everything. With Sage Intacct, CFOs can use contract and revenue management features to automate compliance.

Today’s CFOs are working smarter, faster, and more efficiently than ever before, and a large part of it is because of the cloud. CFOs who truly embrace cloud technologies can give their business a leg up on the competition.

If you’re looking for cloud solutions that can help you streamline reporting processes and optimize business strategies, let’s talk. We offer several cloud computing options like Sage Intacct, Dynamics GP, Office 365, and more.

For even more information, check out our free eBook on the latest business technology trends.