2022 is starting and Finance is again in the spotlight, though from now on, companies will face a period of higher growth when compared to 2020 and 2021. If during the last two years CFOs have had to review budgets closed at the end of 2019 and fine tune numbers monthly in line with their companies’ requirements in the middle of a pandemic that challenged absolutely everything, now other time is coming, and they must be prepared for that.

This occurs in a scenario of digital transformation, whose acceleration started in 2020 and will continue at this pace in the future, for it is now clear that those organizations that do not go digital will lose competitiveness and therefore, financial and economic health. These are the reasons why CFOs will have to make use of technological tools to support this process and boost their companies.

This implies, at the same time, maintaining certain untouchable premises, like those around efficiency increase and costs reduction. Technology raises as an ally to solve the challenges imposed by local, regional and global scenarios.

Robotics, automation, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain itself and management systems form the technological toolkit that will allow CFOs to manage multiple variables efficiently. In Argentina, 76% of CFOs have adopted digital technologies to improve their operational performance, and this behavior may be extrapolated to any other country in the region. Its usage allows to reduce costs in up to 80% when utilizing Robotic Digital Assistants, one of the technologies with higher level of adoption, as it enables to “automate or eliminate up to 40% of the accounting transaction work”, according to a report from Accenture to which may be added that this should be put in the framework of a way of working based on agile methodologies

The report also shows what is going on in other countries. In Spain, for instance, 92% of CFO’s has enquired about technologies that they have heard about for some time now: Big Data, AI, Blockchain. They are convinced that will allow them to attain benefits both for their business and for their business ecosystem. This is relevant because the awareness and interest generated by these technologies is above the global average of 77%.

Automation technologies, low-code tools and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) are the ones that better suit in the statement above. Especially those that allow to automate, digitize, resort to robotization and IoT solutions, and virtualize services.

Another pillar that may not be overlooked is consumer behavior, as they adopt more and more digital solutions and services in their daily lives. The volume of transactions and information generated, despite being the last link of the value chain, impact on organizations of all sizes, and this is when CFO’s need to have tools to leverage the whole chain to reduce costs and increase profitability.

In a volatile macropolitical context and with a pandemic that will continue generating uncertainty, it is convenient to include the needs arising from omnichannel and digital consumers approached with a sustainability lens, as a resource to increase productivity and boost investments in technology.

This is also shown in the Accenture Report, highlighting that as tasks are automated, Finance staff may dedicate more time, around 75% instead of 25% to support decisions, predictive analytics and performance management, which are also boosted with reconciliation tools.

A Gartner report on RPA tools, whose adoption has been growing steadily, shows that 80% of the CFO’s would adopt this type of tool bundled with machine learning solutions.

Just like COVID imposed to citizens and governments the need to access information in real time, this same requirement emerged in businesses. The accelerated adoption of technology that began in 2020 and continued in 2021 will consolidate in 2022 through higher utilization. Needs start to change in a new scenario. Simultaneously moving towards efficiency and profitability is a necessity and these tools may help to that end.