For years, executives have conceptualized their finance department as an unexciting, yet necessary evil. Many companies still view their finance department as nerdy employees who gush over minutia, such as compliance and back office responsibilities. Thankfully, these misconpcetions are changing. The world of finance-as-a-function is drawing to an end and the new world of Finance-as-a-Service is taking over.
But what is Finance-as-a-Service and why is it here to stay?
In this blog, we’re discussing how Finance-as-a-Service can revolutionize your finance department and transform it from a lifeless and mechanical process into something exciting and actionable. With offerings such as outsourced accountants and strategic CFOs, your Finance-as-a-Service can help you achieve sustainable growth and scale at a rapid rate.
At Fully Accountable, we believe your finance department should care about more than compliance and bookkeeping. That’s why we offer full-service teams of professionals who can help you achieve long-lasting success in whatever industry you find yourself in. Our fractionalized team consists of experts that range from controllers to CFOs. No matter what your goals are, we can deliver a tailored solution.
Continue reading to learn more about how a Finance-as-a-Service team can morph your company’s financial strategy from something mundane to something dynamic and creative.
What Is Causing the Transition from Finance-as-a-Function to Finance-as-a-Service
The shift from Finance-as-a-Function to Finance-as-a-Service stems from the desire to do more with less. Shifting these processes requires an upfront investment and extends beyond the transaction of including more technology and resources in your finance department.
To achieve success with Finance-as-a-Service, you must include decisions that support strategic planning. You need a greater awareness and understanding of how each department is affected by financial performance. This includes shared service models, outsourcing, and leveraging organization-wide services.
What Is Finance-as-a-Service?
Finance-as-a-Service focuses on working capital, integrated acquisitions, and long-term business strategy aimed at sustainable success. It transforms the traditional “back office” and integrates new technologies. It can also roll legal, statutory, and tax reporting into one department, making your business more efficient. It takes a broader approach to the finance department and governs wider decision-making with financial business intelligence, data analytics, and KPI benchmarks.
Finance-as-a-Service enrolls the C-suite executives in the decision-making process. It helps them tear down operational walls while fostering relationships with sales, supply chain, IT, HR, and other departments. It is the most effective way to collaborate initiatives across an entire organization.
Business Intelligence and Technology
Today’s CFO is not only in charge of compliance and strategic initiatives. They must also implement the correct financial technology that moves the bottom line for a company. Now, 39% of IT departments report to the CFO more often than they report to the CEO.
Because regulations change at a more rapid pace now and there is a higher demand for data-driven financial insights, businesses are relying on their CFO to implement the right technology that can respond to these challenges. The increase in technology is streamlining companies’ abilities to respond to these shifts and Finance-as-a-Service decreases the time it takes to make these important decisions. It also helps them manage and assess risk more completely.
The financial professionals you use today need more skills than simple bookkeeping and compliance. They must have the ability to interactively forecast, analyze data, implement pricing and investment decisions, and analyze commercial alternatives.
For a financial strategy to work, you need clearly identified metrics. Benchmarking KPIs give business owners access to whether the strategy they incorporate works long-term. It gives your finance team the ability to adapt and is a critical component of the FaaS model.
What Are the Barriers to Implementing Finance-as-a-Service?
There are some limiting factors when it comes to transitioning from Finance-as-a-Function to Finance-as-a-Service. These limiting factors include a general lack of support from senior and middle management, fear of a loss of control, the lack of necessary skills needed to facilitate the transformation, and aversion to the risks associated with change.
However, many organizations have already launched initiatives to ease the strains associated with this transformation. If you don’t have a clear financial strategy and lack in-house resources, a fully-outsourced team can greatly simplify this process. However, more commonly, you will have some existing finance resources. In this case, a scalable outsourced accounting department can seamlessly integrate with your existing financial service structure. This shared services model provides a scalable solution for companies who see the benefits of Finance-as-a-Service, but don’t want to eliminate their existing financial resources.
What Do Shared Services Do?
Shared services help your finance team leverage standardization and process creation so your finance team can spend more time, energy, and resources on their given responsibilities. A shared services model optimizes your outsourcing and eliminates some of the potential obstacles of adoption.
Outsourcing your finance team has attractive features, including low cost FTEs, a high-level of expertise, and state-of-the-art technology automatically implemented into the company infrastructure. Outsourced services will also be able to track the efficacy of your transformation. But technology is never a solution to all financial problems. Part of the benefit that comes from outsourcing is that you get outside, unbiased eyes on your financial strategy.
What Should You Look for In a FaaS Company?
There are three primary areas a Finance-as-a-Service company should focus on. What resources your team needs, the team you choose, and communication will dictate whether the transformation from Finance-as-a-Function to Finance-as-a-Service is successful.
Your prospective Finance-as-a-Service team should be able to clearly define the scope of their services and deliver a scalable solution with clear pricing models. They should have a standard operating model that defines what you get from the package you choose.
This package should include the technology you receive as well as any deliverables needed from your team. These packages should also establish a monthly meeting agenda while covering long-term planning, monthly reporting, and cash flow planning.
Your Finance-as-a-Service team should have capabilities based exclusively on your needs. You should understand whether you need to hire a finance and analytical team in addition to your compliance team or whether you would benefit from a solution as simple as a controller. Transforming from a traditional finance model to an FaaS model requires you to look for different skills. It also dictates you allocate resources in different locations.
Communication refers to how often you meet with your finance team and how you commit to a consistent cadence with meetings and due dates. Your prospective business should be able to answer when and how often they deliver results. You should clearly communicate with your prospective company about the frequency you need to establish an effective strategy. Most CPA firms and staff naturally commit to this process, but you should be mindful to ensure your communication needs get met.
It’s not easy to shift your finance department from mere compliance to one that focuses on overarching strategy. To execute this transformation well, you need the right team to determine your most glaring needs and which areas you would benefit most from by outsourcing.
At Fully Accountable, we believe you deserve a scalable solution that smooths the transition from finance-as-a-function to an FaaS model. Our fractionalized professionals can tailor your experience and ensure you get the most out of your BI, data analytics, and benchmarking KPIs.
Contact us today to learn more about how our FaaS team can transform your financial strategy into one that lasts.