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A CFO’s Secret Weapon for Controlling Outbound Cash Flows

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July 25, 2018

Mark Brousseau, Analyst and Researcher in Business Process Automation, Brousseau & Associates

After years of defensive strategies, CFOs are squarely focused on helping grow their business. Most CFOs say that helping their business develop strategies for growth is a top priority, per Accenture.

But to accomplish this, CFOs will need to get better control of their outbound cash flows.

  • 69% of CFOs say they need better control over their working capital.
  • Most businesses have visibility into only half of their enterprise spending.
  • 45% of CFOs say they cannot readily access accounts payable data.

These statistics from the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) paint a sobering picture for CFOs who want to harness outbound cash flows to help drive corporate growth and profitability. The statistics drive home the point that businesses will never achieve strong control over their cash without automating the invoice processes that feed their enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform.

Poor control over outbound cash flows negatively impacts:

  • Budgeting, forecasting and planning
  • Cash management
  • Payment strategies
  • Supplier relationships

Regardless of the ERP you use, in a manual or semi-automated invoice processing environment:

  • Key information is not captured
  • Data is poorly organized
  • Information is not available to the ERP in a timely manner
  • Systems and processes are poorly integrated
  • Decision-makers cannot access key variables

81% of accounts payable professions describe financial visibility as “critical” or “important” to controlling their cash, the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) reports.

Automating the invoice processes that sit in front of an ERP platform provides businesses with greater control over their outbound cash flows. Data is organized, timely, and easier to access. Configurable dashboards track accruals and other information in real-time, enabling CFOs to quickly access the data they need to accurately predict their cash needs. And data can be pulled in from other systems, providing a 360-degree view of outbound cash flows. CFOs also can drill-down into data and instantly access key metrics such as the volume of invoices out for approval, the dollar amount of invoices in each stage of processing, and invoice data by month, supplier, and type of invoice.

And integrating an automated invoice processing solution with your ERP platform provides two-way data integration to help ensure that data on outbound cash flows is synchronized in both systems.

The insights provided by an ERP platform and a tightly integrated automated invoice processing solution such as the one from Canon Information and Imaging Solutions (CIIS) puts unprecedented control into the hands of CFOs to manage their organization’s outbound cash flows. At a time when CFOs are looking for ways to help their organization grow, this control over cash flows is critical.

For more information about the importance of automated invoice processing, check out the infographic – “9 Reasons Accounts Payable Needs Intelligent Invoice Capture” here.