If you’re like many finance leaders these days, you’re feeling a greater sense of urgency brought on by the pandemic. And you may be realizing that today’s choices of technology are seemingly endless, with literally hundreds of “best-of-breed” technology providers out there focusing on specialized areas such as accounts payable (AP) automation, digital payments, expense management and month-end close. And they’re multiplying every day.
How do you know which providers to choose? Which ones are best for your industry, your company and your specific needs? And how do they all work together? Can you integrate them? This is where a provider that supplies strategic accounting services can be a lifesaver. We’ve walked this road before and guided hundreds of companies successfully through the journey ahead of you.
You may have seen Scott Brinker of HubSpot’s famous MarTech slide that has shown us the marketing technology landscape each year since 2014. The number of best-of-breed SaaS solutions for marketers has ballooned to the point that their logos are now an unreadable mosaic. Because we haven’t found a “FinTech” version of this image, we started to create our own, but we only focused on finance and accounting technologies that would help CFOs and finance leaders run their businesses – we excluded a huge number of technologies that support the banking and financial services industries.
What we came up with, even in this relatively small slice of these software vendors, is starting to look a lot like the MarTech images of years’ past. And it will only continue to grow. Not only do these technology categories show the level of focus and specialization that these vendors apply to their research and development efforts, but the sheer number of vendor logos on the page shows how overwhelming it can be to choose the technology that is right for any specific organization. And the landscape is constantly changing and evolving. Keeping track of this landscape could be a full-time job for a finance leader.
One of the things to keep in mind when it comes to this ever-growing technology landscape is that the focus of most of the R&D to date for these solutions has been along horizontal, functional areas, such as digital payments or month-end close and not on industry-specific functionality. But for most industries, “piecing-together” and integrating multiple software applications still leaves gaps where the last 10 percent to 20 percent of the return-on-investment can’t be unlocked due to limitations.
The modern finance function requires a “whole product” solution - curated, stress-tested and optimized by a solution provider with deep industry experience that can provide the last mile functionality and the insights that CFOs need to transform finance and accounting into a strategic business asset and to use data to challenge the status quo. This whole product solution should be available as-a-service, whether that be software subscriptions, outsourced finance operations, or even technology implementations, consulting and development.