Adrian Johnston Oracle

How are finance teams closing their books remotely?

By Adrian Johnston, Senior Vice President of Cloud Applications (SaaS), Japan and Asia Pacific, Oracle Corporation

In today’s business environment, many companies are adopting the “new normal’ of remote operations to minimize disruption. In the Asia Pacific, finance teams are presented with a new challenge – closing their books remotely for the first time.

To address these challenges, companies are given the nudge to try out different methods to make remote working effective and smooth — from regular check-ins with their employees to hearing out and adapting to their needs. This helps ensure companies create a more conducive environment to gain the trust of their employees during these times.

How are companies in the Asia Pacific responding to the current times?

Some companies across the region are performing better than others, while a few are even taking on new methods to enable their businesses to continue to run smoothly as they start working remotely.

Finance leaders’ current operational challenges

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With finance being an integral aspect and part of the survival of businesses, having a secure virtual private network (VPN) capacity and access licenses is increasingly important now more than ever. Some companies are also reevaluating their IT infrastructure to ensure they have the right remote management tools in place to face any challenges that may arise.

The pros and cons of working remotely

Flexibility, transparency, and autonomy are three key aspects that employees should adopt as they start reaching out to their fellow colleagues virtually. Moreover, finance teams that use cloud software in managing their processes have the upper hand in this playing field — as their teams have easy access to one set of shared data, integrated workflows, and up-to-date technology. This guarantees employees face the least disruption in order to maintain operational excellence.

One such example is Asia Commercial Bank, one of the largest retail banks in Vietnam, which deployed Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud to streamline all its finance, procurement, and project expense management processes. This cloud solution has enabled the bank to accelerate its month-end close and reporting cycles by 50%. Moving to the cloud also meant it no longer had to manage these applications in its own data center, which minimized the need for any staff to be on-premise. This enabled employees to continue working from the comfort of their homes without any operational disruption.

Why are some companies outperforming others at working remotely?

Finance teams that currently depend on cloud-computing technology to automate accruals, adjustments, and internal transactions could see a more promising close than those who are still using on-premise technology on virtual private networks or manually enter their data into spreadsheets. A reason for this is because companies with cloud-computing technology dashboards display all the activities at one glance, providing everyone with a real-time view of the status of all vital components such as completion metrics, aged open items, ensuring finance teams are kept up to date with accurate information.

Hindalco Industries Ltd., a flagship aluminum and copper manufacturing company, used to face many challenges when it came to collecting data from various locations and then filing financial reports on a real-time basis. Closing books quickly with accuracy and quality is of prime importance that companies should strive for in these times. Hindalco adopted Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud and streamlined its financial management and regulatory reports by utilizing the power of data and smart automation in a cost-effective manner.

Another case in point is Inland Revenue Authority in New Zealand which adopted Oracle EPM Cloud to run all the projects smoothly and save time. Its budgets were previously managed in spreadsheets that needed employees to manually update, however, with this new cloud solution, all the information is displayed in one place, which is now a single source of truth.

Building business resilience

With companies adopting different measures to maintain its business processes and close their financial quarters remotely, it’s clear that some are performing better than others. As their technological capabilities are being put to the test, companies that remain dynamic and adaptable may just be able to strengthen their processes working toward a more resilient future.