SAP S/4HANA: Transforming The CFO into a Business Value Creator and Role Model

How SAP S/4HANA Helps CFOs to Overcome The Slump and Steer Business Forward!

Unpredictable times such as these call for an “anytime, anywhere” finance function, and CFOs are expected to take the lead in accelerating strategic growth across the enterprise. Therefore, suddenly the CFOs found their organizations in a firefighting mode: gauging risks, preserving cash, and rapidly revising all financial plans and forecasting for the next month, quarter, and year. At this point, most CFOs found technology to be a key driver for improving transparency and efficiency. SAP S/4HANA is ‘the’ technology that supports the evolution of the finance function today and into the future. 

However, this journey is not easy. Companies must develop a business case for SAP S/4HANA that will support their strategic vision. By leveraging the right finance technology innovations and partnering with a trusted SAP solutions provider, companies can maintain global regulatory compliance and engage in efficient finance processes. 

Technology assists CFOs to control accounting and tax standards and engage with the business to jointly drive value. Having said that, technological trends that have been sitting in incubation mode have now emerged as real working models. This article discusses how SAP S/4HANA can leverage the CFO’s vision of becoming a value creation role model for the business.

Read more: How Fingent Helps CFOs Gain New Insights and Reliably Enable Key Decisions 


Typical challenges for the CFO’s vision

Most often, a CFO’s agenda is held back by their organization’s complex technology landscape. This often renders efficient closing and reporting impossible within expected timelines. Such cumbersome systems hamper the management of working capital while making it difficult for finance departments to obtain reliable figures for profit and loss or forecasted budgets. 

Perhaps you find yourself in this situation: At the end of the month, you find that you could not meet the deadline for the period closure. To make matters worse, mistakes made during the month must be rectified, data from different systems must be imported randomly into an Excel sheet. That is not all! All this information must be manipulated into a decent report. You take a breath that eventually it all worked well. However, the same thing happens the next month, and this pattern keeps repeating itself month after month. That stress peaks by the year-end. Amidst all this chaos, you are left with little time to proactively steer the company based on those figures. You may wonder, is all this financial data gathering purely an obligation just to satisfy auditors? 

Companies can gain much profit by keeping admin up-to-date and proactively adjusting the business based on current financial data. That is the biggest advantage SAP S/4HANA provides. It gives the reins of business into your control. 

Read more: How SAP S/4HANA transforms the end-to-end business process

Three focus areas where CFOs can gain more control with SAP S/4HANA

1. Control system landscape

As a CFO, you must deal with various financial systems and programs that contain your financial data. All financial data must be collected continuously and loaded into a reporting tool. Apart from this, data must also be entered into an Excel program. Such a fragmented landscape with a jumbled interface leads to errors, data duplication, and the probability of inconsistent data. This translates into enormous amounts of wasted money and time. Replacing this complex structure with an integrated system saves a lot of time and money. SAP S/4HANA provides CFOs a simplified landscape that leads to more control.

Read more about our Case Study: How Fingent successfully automated the integration between SAP SuccessFactors and SAP S/4HANA. Click here to download!

2. Control over processes

Fragmented processes lead to many errors and waste much time. However, once your system landscape is integrated, you will be able to optimize your processes. This will save time, which you can use to proactively manage the company with critical decision making based on your current financial data. This is where SAP S/4HANA finds value. It offers possibilities to automate and integrate processes. It allows you to add smart KPIs. This, in turn, helps you decide which areas need your attention and avoid those that are less important.

3. Control transactions

Entering data several times on different screens and in various steps leads to incomplete data. Most often, no valuable information can be retrieved from such a system. Nevertheless, S/4HANA can ensure that the transactions are carried out correctly. This will keep the data informative and up to date.

How S/4HANA can transform the landscape to help embrace a CFO’s vision

The challenges faced by CFOs and finance professionals today are complicated, but S/4HANA can simplify them. CFOs can seamlessly unify their information landscape to remove gaps and ease pain-points by leveraging the in-memory data and processing capabilities of SAP S/4HANA architecture, and cloud deployment scenarios.

Instead of grappling with disparate pieces, this approach enables CFOs and financial professionals to see a holistic real-time view that encompasses all operational data sets and analysis capabilities within a single unified architecture. 

What is the impact of SAP S/4HANA on CFOs?

SAP S/4HANA improves access to information, and the ability to manipulate that information. Additionally, it can dramatically improve the real-time analytics performance. Thus, with the help of SAP S/4HANA, CFOs have more power to show the management board what they can achieve. 

Empowered with SAP S/4HANA, CFOs know that they can respond impromptu to the management board’s questions. With that power, they can just tap for details and input from the live business. Usually, the management board fires off questions after the CFO delivers the company report. Such questions could be linked to newly acquired subsidiaries or similar activities. SAP S/4HANA gives CFOs instant access to all data and processes of the company. Thus, a CFO is now able to include outcomes of the newly acquired business. Also, SAP S/4HANA allows you to model the efficient integration of identical operations and product hierarchies. This allows CFOs to join key drivers in their simulation model with new business planning and get instant combined results. In turn, it will help board members to figure out the impact of global cash flows and financial position. 

CFOs can pull real-time cash and liquidity data of all business systems. With the analytics in SAP S/4HANA, they can advise the board confidently if the venture would be profitable. Evidently, CFOs do more than just crunching figures. They give the board a preview of what the business could look like after a merger or with an investment. To that end, SAP S/4HANA enables CFOs and financial professionals to predict potential market growth in addition to current operations. 

How can SAP S/4HANA help CFOs achieve their prime objectives in an agile manner?

1. Financial planning, data processing, and analysis

Proper financial planning is a strategic objective for organic business growth. However, proper financial planning depends on the availability of financial data for profitable growth. Financial planning must be aligned with the growth strategies of the organization. It must be analyzed to explore new products, channels, and markets.  With an embedded BPC solution for planning, SAP S/4HANA provides agility, flexibility, and accuracy in the planning process. Since it is available in the enterprise core system, no time is wasted in data loads and data reconciliation. It makes previous years actuals available for making plans. Financial data can be churned easily to simulate various growth strategies and help the organization make informed decisions. 

2. Support corporate growth

Businesses expect CFOs to support them in driving growth strategies, both organic and inorganic growth. Mergers, acquisitions, and decisions to expand business in various geographies play an important role in growth strategies. To that end, SAP S/4HANA provides real-time financial reporting that reduces the time-consuming reconciliation process. This results in a quick closing. Since it is supported by analytical dashboards with simulations, it can help CFOs make strategic decisions with accuracy and agility.

3. Gain a competitive advantage

CFOs want to keep an eye on regulatory changes and changing domestic and international economic conditions because it gives an opportunity to drive competitive advantage. They can do this with the support of SAP S/4HANA. Since it is an innovation platform it can help CFOs to reimagine and reinvent their processes. Thus, it can bring agility to their decision making.

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SAP S/4HANA upholds agility and accuracy of financial information 

An ongoing concern for CFOs is the lack of agility in getting financial reporting.  Additionally, manual data reconciliation results in inaccurate data. However, SAP S/4HANA provides financial reports in real-time. Its universal journal feature brings in simplicity and flexibility. Since it allows you to store data in a single table, slicing and dicing the data is made easy. This makes reporting at multiple dimensions simple and real-time. 

Most CFOs realize that managing evolving technology such as SAP S/4HANA is not just about streamlining operations. It is also essential for managing fraud detection, regulation, and compliance. Compliance requirements have become stringent globally. SAP S/4HANA provides a comprehensive solution for fraud and risk management. 

Laser focus on your core competency

CFOs and finance professionals do not view themselves as bookkeepers. They are business outcome-focused leaders and business partners who are stewards of the company’s profit and resources. They are innovators and strategists. CFOs are those who can overcome economic uncertainty and use financial data for growth. Hence, they must be trusted advisors to the management board while overseeing the job of managing cost and profitability. In short, a CFO must be a multitasker! SAP S/4HANA provides the platform and tools for efficient multitasking. It supercharges a CFO’s vision of becoming a value creation role-model for the business.

As CFOs grapple with new disruptive business models, SAP S/4HANA Finance can help them in their decision-making process at a tactical and strategic level. Being an SAP Silver Partner, we are helping CFOs to gain new insights and reliably enable key decisions. 

Talk to an expert to understand how we can enhance your organization’s ability to pivot quickly and adapt to dynamic business scenarios. 


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    About the Author

    Ashok Kumar

    Ashok leads Fingent’s SAP Consulting practice for ANZ, SE Asia, The Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and other global clients. More specifically, he helps companies improve operational efficiency by enhancing their digital cores and improving their application integration. Ashok has amassed over 20 years of leadership and consulting experience having worked with Global giants like SAP, IBM Consulting, Capgemini, & Oracle in his previous assignments. Connect with Ashok via LinkedIn and learn how your business can excel with recent SAP trends.

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