Thor has his hammer, Captain America his shield and Wonder Woman her bracelets of submission. When we’re young, its tools like these we think will make us ‘super’ people. But as we become adults and come to grips with reality, our definition of what it takes to be ‘super’ changes completely.

By Sarah George, ERP/EPM cloud applications business development manager and product leader at Oracle

We are in a digital economy faced with disruptions everywhere we turn; from competition, our customers and internally.  In this new digital era CFOs are forced to be super heroes in their organisations, but there is only so many resources and super powers one can humanely handle.

Especially in business, we’ve taken the term ‘super’ to describe leaders who have managed to find the right balance between work and life. The modern superhero we see lauded in the media is someone who is successful in their field while also making enough time for family and hobbies outside of work. That might mean getting home in time to put the kids to bed, finding time to train for a marathon, or just putting in the hours to learn how to play an instrument.

We are in awe of these individuals not because of a tremendous feat of strength or heroic act, but because achieving a perfect work/life balance while running a successful business is one of the hardest things to do as an adult.

The job is doubly difficult for CFOs, who are being challenged to navigate a complex economic landscape and be the CEO’s right-hand. It takes more than just superhero thinking and experience to achieve this, it takes super-powered technologies capable of supporting decision-making at the highest level quickly and accurately.

Today, it is their ERP cloud application that delivers the real power CFOs need. ERP may stand for “Enterprise Resource Planning”, but it delivers so much more when done right. Here’s why ERP today should stand for “Earn, Rest and Play”, taking the headache of administration out of running a finance organisation for CFOs so they can find the right work/life balance and prove their true worth as modern superheroes.

Equipped with cloud-based ERP applications that add automation to the equation, CFOs can speed up manual tasks as well as eliminating time-consuming and costly upgrades from their routines.

Time, instead, can be dedicated to focusing on the more strategic part of their jobs. Given recent Accenture research showed finance staff spend an average of 60% and 70% of their time on tasks such as processing transactions, accounting, controlling, compliance and reporting, that’s a lot more time back in their day.

This is important as, for CFOs, being ‘super’ at work has, for a while now, meant more than being good with numbers. In fact, it means ‘getting ahead’ of any uncertainty and equipping themselves with the power of future-gazing, being able to look ahead and have reliable insight over any future scenarios.

Nearly half of businesses have changed their models to become more agile and the CFO is expected to be the driving force behind that.

Umair Junaid, CFO at Access Power, one of the fastest-growing independent power producers in emerging African and Asian markets, was spending a lot of time manually pulling together the financial reports coming in from the company’s operations across many different countries.

It was a time-heavy process given each region has its own regulations and accounting practices. Junaid also wanted to improve the accuracy of the reports he presents to the management team, so he could value-add and give better guidance on cost-tracking.

Automating the process with an ERP Cloud means he has a better handle on reports from across the regions and can use them to facilitate the organisation’s growth plans, but without needing to put more hours in at work.

Christophe Eouzan, Chief Accounting Officer at Telcom operator Orange, needed a way to free up both his and the wider corporate finance team’s time so they could focus on higher-level work that would be more valuable in supporting a companywide transformation initiative.

Turning to an ERP Cloud to take care of time-consuming, non-strategic tasks like requisitions, purchase orders, and vendor invoices, Orange has been able to free up finance back-office personnel.

Now Eouzan and his team have more time in their day to focus on more important, value-added tasks, such as forecasting, supplier transaction transparency and building a digital working environment which will help the company attract new employees as older employees retire.

As businesses become more and more reliant on data, CFOs need to keep being more than number-crunchers in the workplace if they’re to maximise their earning potential and add value in the right places.

ERP can help them to achieve this, making them more productive and successful at work, but while freeing up the time to ‘do it all’.

After all, it’s having enough time to dedicate to family, friends, hobbies and their general wellbeing that will make them the ‘super’ business people we read about. ERP with automation capabilities is the tool that’s helping the CFOs who are our modern day business superheroes.


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