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Navigate your next to decision centric digital finance with SAP S/4HANA and disruptive technologies- Part 1 of 2

In today's dynamic business environment decreasing revenue growth, rising economic uncertainties, regulatory compliance and competition has created tremendous business challenges across industries. These challenges have put increasing demands on the Finance function to evolve from a transaction processing, historical reporting focus to a strategic advisor and valued business partner responsible for driving growth and profitability.  The role of CFO is continuously evolving to move from 'policeman' to 'entrepreneurial partner' accompanying the business evolution and adding value to both group and finance function brand by moving strategically towards a World Class Finance.  A truly world class future finance function in this digital world which is more agile, forward looking and decision centric should primarily meet most of the below objectives

  • True partner to business with customer centric focus

  • Business value centric and engaged with data

  • Leveraging innovation as a competitive advantage

  • Ensuring Healthy cash position enabling M&A strategy

  • Sustainable profit realization and productivity gains

  • Proactive risk mitigation and governance

  • Integrate Finance and non Finance information

  • Embark on new business models, become agile and up- skill teams

Such a future finance function of enterprises should include both basic capabilities and also differentiator capabilities below to transition from being accounting centric to decision centric

Figure 1: Differentiator capabilities for future of extended finance

SAP S/4HANA with its digital core and intelligent technologies like AI and Automation will play a major role in enabling these differentiator finance capabilities and to enable enterprises move up on the digital finance maturity scale.

Infosys with portfolio of AI and Automation services leveraging combination of In-house solutions like Infosys NIA and Assist Edge, 3rd party solutions like UI Path, Automation Anywhere  and SAP solutions like Leonardo is also enabling clients to realize their vision of future digital finance

Figure 2: Infosys AI & Automation services and credentials for digital finance

In the first part of this blog series, based on my recent experiences with some of the global corporations who have advanced on their journey of transformation to future digital finance, I will highlight some of the key future trends and solutions with SAP S/4HANA and other disruptive technologies in below three key Finance sub-functions:

  • Financial Planning and Forecasting
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Period end closing and consolidation 

I. Financial Planning and Forecasting

Key trends:

  • Dynamic planning based on cognitive tools with predictive/prescriptive insights. Real time evaluation and analysis of new business models and M&A
  • Driver based modeling of 'what-if' scenarios and simulations to model and test the impact of changes to profitability before commiting to plans
  • Flexible frequencies of planning cycle with integrated financial and operational planning processes
  • Personalized KPIs, dashboards, processes and stories for simulative, collaborative and predictive planning
  • Detailed analysis of board level strategies and plans against any version of actual, plan, prior year or rolling forecast

Key SAP Solutions: SAP Analytics Cloud, BPC Optimized for S/4HANA, BPC for BW4/HANA, SAP Digital Boardroom

Other Intelligent technologies and automation solutions: Infosys NIA and SAP Leonardo based AI solutions for predictive planning and forecasting

II. Reporting and Analytics

Key trends:

  • Transformed board room experience with real time business intelligence and what if analysis to make decisions
  • Real time and multi-dimensional revenue, COGS, EBIT and profitability analysis
  • Predictive models for forward looking revenue and margin insights
  • Actionable insights embedded in business process analytics
  • Flexible adaptation of organization restructuring changes into analytics
  • Smart Alerts on budget overruns and to autonomously detect unusual business situations in revenue and cost accounts
  • Automated AI based reports mimicking human actions and analytics based 'what-if' simulations using structured and Big data

Key SAP Solutions: S/4HANA Account Based Profitability Analysis, S/4HANA Embedded analytics with Fiori, Design Studio and Lumira, SAP Digital Boardroom cloud, ML based smart alerts for P&L analysis on SAP Cloud Platform

Other Intelligent technologies and automation solutions: Infosys NIA based automated reports mimicking human actions based on AI, Infosys NIA based simulation and insights based on Cognitive analytics and Natural Language processing (NLP)

III. Period End Closing and Consolidation

Key trends:

  • Digital close with automated close execution and monitoring even in remote systems with real time insight into closing status and comprehensive analytics
  • Soft and continuous close capabilities with event triggered execution and real time reconciliations and derivations
  • Alert mechanisms and recommendations enabled by AI-based reports
  • Controls and internal audit executed by BOTS
  • Predictive accounting and close capabilities for quick corrections and data adjustments
  • Continuous Intercompany reconciliations with elimination of peaks during period end
  • Automation of repetitive period end close tasks with RPA BOTs
  • Coherent automated processes for GR/IR Clearing and Accruals Management with Machine Learning
  • Real time consolidation with full auditability and traceability to transaction data
  • Flexibility for local adjustments reflected in real time for consolidation
  • Multi-dimensional consolidated data analysis with Embedded Analytics for operational accounting and consolidation

Key SAP Solutions: S/4HANA Financial Closing Cockpit,S/4HANA Predictive accounting, Intercompany Reconciliation Tool,ML based Accruals Management and GR/IR Reconciliation in S/4HANA, S/4HANA for Group Reporting, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Disclosure Management, SAP Group Reporting Data Collection

Other Intelligent technologies and automation solutions: Infosys Hawkeye Cloud solution for business problem diagnostic capability for speeding period end close, Infosys Assistedge based robotics and process automation for period end close, Automation Anywhere RPA, Blackline Smartclose for close automation and reconciliation

In the second part of this blog I will highlight key future trends and next gen solutions in Finance sub functions of Treasury, Accounts Payables, Accounts Receivables, Cost Management, Taxation and Localization and Audit and Compliance

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