From Traditional to Innovator: The Digitization of the CFO Role

Posted on October 12, 2021

As part of our AR and AP digitization series, we’ve broken down the four mistakes enterprise companies should avoid when moving their technology to AP Automation. As well as the importance of AP automation for business growth.

Today the focus is on the changing role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) within AR and AP digitization. Traditionally, the CFO role has been more administrative. Today, it’s more strategic in terms of day-to-day decision making.

Why Is The Role More Strategic?

The digital shift is happening and it’s everywhere from contactless payments to Uber Eats. However, the harbinger for change was the pandemic.  It highlighted the inadequacy of old school payments practices such as cheques and snail mail. 

During the height of the pandemic enterprises still accepting these payment methods scrambled and in many cases fell behind due to pandemic protocols that kept people apart. Plus, money was encouraged to be exchanged digitally. 

CFOs then examined payments, traditionally a back-office function, and knew that in order to succeed and stay current they must tackle payments inefficiencies and digitize AR/AP payments. Seamless payment capabilities became a top priority for maintaining loyalty and attracting new digitally-focused customers. 

VoPay’s CFO, Moe Niknami says, “By streamlining AP and AR processes, it eliminates the tedious paperwork and manual tasks that will increase the security and accuracy of transactions and will allow key persons in the company to focus on higher-value work to move the business forward.”

In fact, according to a recent PYMNTS survey of 400 CFOs:

63 percent of CFOs said the main way the pandemic impacted their strategic objectives was to elevate the importance of lifetime customer value.

Moreover, digitization has been the means in which enterprises can increase and integrate digital and electronic payment methods. Plus, more than half of CFOs say they have not only increased their use of ACH but also ePayables with virtual cards and real-time payments.

The Rise in AR and AP Digitization by the Numbers

The numbers are staggering. According to the aforementioned survey of 400 CFOs, nearly 93 percent of firms in the United States with at least $25 million in revenues are currently digitizing their AR/AP operations.

As the PYMNTS survey points out, it’s not simply the scale of digitization that is remarkable, but what executives expect to get from it:

Nearly every single CFO (96 percent) view these investments as vital to improving relationships with customers and vendors, far outweighing distinct operational benefits, like faster payment processing times.

  • 93 percent: Share of U.S. CFOs who say they are currently digitizing their accounting operations
  • 96 percent: Share of CFOs who say they are digitizing AP and AR processes for their customers’ and vendors’ benefit
  • 57 percent: Share of CFOs who say their technology investments in AP and AR are about transformation rather than automation
CFO Adoption of Accounts Payabale and Accounts Receivable Automation

How Important Is AR and AP digitization For CFO’s?

The future is digital and automation is key. CFOs are in the driver’s seat of automating tasks such as AR/AP, to drive business growth. Although, in a wider view, automation is the first step on a long ladder.

In a recent Forbes article it says: 

“The quest for efficiencies and process improvements in the back office has long been on the agenda of finance leaders...Business digitalization has taken this quest to the next level where business success is defined by a mindset shift, process overhaul and competence realignment that are transformational for organizations. CFOs, the sponsors of such transformation, must take the lead first in transforming themselves and then their organizations.”

In fact, there’s a new term called “Digital CFO”. Where the CFO must evolve to assume the role of an enterprise-wide strategist, an innovator and change leader, and a proactive decision maker, as well as utilize technology to look at the bigger picture.  

Next Steps For CFOs

45% of businesses view slow payment completion times as one of their main pain points.  However, by having a built-in payment system, it truly makes the experience quicker and more seamless. 

And as pointed out earlier in the article—seamless payment capabilities became a top priority for maintaining loyalty and attracting new customers. 

At VoPay, we support AR and AP digitization through our partnership programmes with the leading providers across North America, by offering a one-stop source for all payment needs. In turn, this helps make the CFOs job more manageable by having a streamlined and digitized process. No switching between multiple platforms for AR/AP and payment services. The CFO can focus on strategic decision making.

Niknami adds, “Automating business payment systems allows businesses to add multiple funding sources. You can connect a bank account for EFT/ACH payments, a line of credit, and several credit cards for your payments, which would be a great help to manage your cash flows by allowing you to combine funds, paying from multiple sources in a single transaction.”

VoPay partners trust our platform and see that it is transforming how enterprise companies are managing payment processing. With best-in-class API payment technology and Open Banking verification solutions, enterprises can unlock better tools for digital payment processing.

To learn more about our Enterprise API Solution and our Partner integrations, get in touch with a payment expert today. 

We look forward to speaking with you!

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