Why make a hard job harder?

No one in the human resources (HR) space is trying to make the argument that finance leadership is easy. No — it’s a challenging role, and it’s only growing in importance. In fact, in one report from The Institute of Management Accountants, 72% of respondents felt that the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will either “increase or increase significantly” in importance over the next three to five years. 

But what if there was a way to make a challenging role easier, so finance leaders could focus on the long-term strategic concerns that are increasingly expected of them?

Today, there are so many groundbreaking organizational technologies available to finance and HR leaders who are willing to explore their options. With the right human capital management (HCM) solution, finance and HR leaders can lean away from the rote, manual tasks that introduce errors and distract from the strategic, future-focused roles finance and HR can be. A lower total cost of ownership, increased data accuracy, and better business intelligence combines to revolutionize the role of finance.

Here are four critical ways the right HCM can add value to the role of the finance leader: 

#1. Eliminate Manual Processes Across Finance and HR Teams

Why it matters: 

Manual work is a burden for finance and HR leaders alike. It was recently reported that 81% of CFOs believe they suffer from the most intensive daily manual work in comparison to any other role in C-Suite. Our own survey sheds more light on exactly how much time finance leaders lose to manual work, with 33% of CFOs saying they lose 11-15 hours per week to manual tasks. 

In many organizations, the HR environment is also burdened with overly complicated manual systems that slow down operations. Everyday tasks require so much time to manage that there’s little time left over to dedicate to bigger, more strategic goals. That's simply too much time lost to manual processes — and too much opportunity lost for collaborating across the finance and HR departments.

How HCM helps: 

The most foundational benefit of implementing an HCM is that it offers you the ability to streamline and eliminate manual processes across both finance and HR departments. Automating common tasks and processes across HR and finance can streamline the workload on those departments so they can gain back the hours and focus necessary to align to business objectives. 

The finance team can automate time-consuming reporting and data entry. The HR team can take manual processes like estimating labor costs and evaluating employee lifecycle and churn and update them with workflows that both increase efficiency while also lowering the risk of errors. And, ultimately, the back office can take a holistic, collaborative approach to the important things that flow between finance and HR, such as compliance risk, data integrity, and greater efficiency. 

#2. Provide a Single Core System for HR, Benefits, and Payroll

Why it matters: 

Often, HCM solutions separate HR, benefits, and payroll and build out these functions over time through acquisition and partnerships. But in that process of combining the functions, they don’t just fall into place in a streamlined and effective workflow — in most cases, they are still a work in progress. When trying to connect with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools, this can create many difficulties and inefficiencies when mapping fields, automating workflows, and sourcing data.

How HCM helps: 

What Finance leader wants to track down key information and data from three systems trying to operate as one? Finance leaders need a system they can lean on, and they should lean on an HCM that has these three core systems from the ground up as one core solution. When HR and finance systems are closely integrated and connected, the finance and HR departments can operationalize their organizational strategies. The connections between the two become crystal clear — and so do the missed opportunities, allowing these departments to grow closer and achieve more together. 

For example, the right HCM allows departments to reference the budgeted payroll versus the actual payroll. Finance and HR can then work together to manage the constant state of flux taking place when employees are leaving roles or changing positions. They can then look deeper into these differences with a powerful tool like position management, which allows finance to stay on top of real-time actuals as change is taking place. In the end, this supports better, more accurate forecasting and strategic business decisions. 

#3. See Data Across Multiple Time Periods

Why it matters: 

Accurate planning while essential factors are in flux is nothing less than challenging. And yet that’s what HR and finance leaders must do day in and day out as they balance the needs of the organization and the availability of a shifting workforce. They often need to peer into headcount, enrolled benefits, or accounting reports to reconcile today — and compare it to the same reports that have come before across multiple time periods. 

How HCM helps: 

With an HCM tool that provides “time machine” visibility, finance leaders can access accurate views of retroactive data. Being able to see point-in-time data from the past is incredibly helpful in planning for the budget and workforce needs of the future. Leaders can identify trends from daily historical data, right-size future benefits packages, and inform other compensation decisions more accurately, and more. 

Is this possible without an HCM that combines finance and HR data? No. Manual processes, siloed data, and disparate software systems make it far too difficult to align efforts and have oversight into what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. There’s simply no comparison between what can be accomplished with a spreadsheet-based planning workflow and an automated, integrated HCM.

#4. Capture Robust Reporting With One Click

Why it matters: 

According to the Brainyard Winter 2020 Survey, “using data more effectively” was the No. 1 priority for finance respondents, and “producing better reporting on KPIs” was in the top three priorities. Clearly, being able to capture and analyze more robust reporting would be a step up for finance leaders who otherwise cannot trust the data they pull or require so much time and effort to pull the data that it doesn’t happen frequently enough to have a real impact. 

How HCM helps: 

When a finance leader is able to pull data from a single streamlined solution for HR, payroll, and benefits, that data capture, analysis, and reporting process is streamlined, too. HR and finance leaders are able to view both the organizational data and financial data across time and do so quickly and easily.

They can then accurately estimate important details like: 

  • Projected budgets
  • Staffing plans
  • Current headcounts
  • Historical labor cost trends

Many organizations see positive results from applying technology to their finance and HR functions. In fact, 76% of finance executives surveyed by Deloitte claim that their technology investments have yielded better insights and cost reduction.

The demands placed on finance leaders continues to evolve

The demands placed on finance professionals by company executives are continuously evolving. It’s not easy to balance growth with spend and constantly assess revenue while analyzing budgetary risks. It’s not easy, and finance leaders shouldn’t have to do it alone when there’s the right technology out there that can help. When an organization integrates its financial systems with an HCM solution like SyncHR, it unlocks powerful tools and insights that make the finance leaders more effective and more future-focused. 

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