Those of you that know me well, will know that standing up to speak in front of thousands of people wouldn’t ordinarily be at the top of my wish list. But, when our Chief Digital & Information Officer (CDIO), Sal Laher, gave me the opportunity to explain how IFS’s own solutions have allowed the finance team to embark on a journey of business transformation… well, I couldn’t refuse.
As CEO, Darren Roos describes, this project was rooted in the need for a level of visibility that would inform strategic decision-making and put our leadership team in the driving seat as it steers us towards future success. We needed data. Accurate and accessible data that would detail what was happening in our business, For example, employee distribution, diversity and tenure. Also, customer distribution, sales pipeline and customer relationship management (CRM).
I start my element of the presentation by explaining where we used to be. We were 47 different legal entities, with different versions of finance software, running different instances. We operated with information that was sometimes outdated or incomplete and had limited visibility across our business. And we were unable to manage processes globally. In fact, one question could quickly lead to more questions and, unfortunately, inconsistent answers. Perhaps this sounds familiar to some of you.
Now that we’re live with IFS Applications10 we have, at last, one global view of our financial information across all markets. We have transparency and information, and one global chart of accounts. This allows us to have a reduced close cycle and identify and address issues that we simply couldn’t tackle before. For example, we closed our August 2019 numbers (for the first time in the new system) and what used to take a manual effort to reconcile intercompany invoices is now complete at the click of a button.
Keen to build on this success, we’ll soon be going live with consolidation and planning functionality. This will give us a fully flexible planning and forecasting environment. With the ability to address some very complex scenarios, we’ll also get enhanced reporting and will be able to slice and dice the data as required. So, by then I will have actuals, budget and forecasts all in one system with no integration issues. Just one system.
I have to say, that I went into this with high expectations because I know the strength of our products. But I still walked away impressed at how my expectations have been exceeded. Our technology has changed the way we work in finance. It has allowed us to become more efficient and to save costs. But that is almost insignificant compared to the strategic benefits and how we have become a growth-enabling function inside our business.
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Photo: Kurt Rebry