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Finance leaders anticipate more scrutiny, focus on automation for 2024
Wed, 31st Jan 2024

Recent research from Forrester and Basware has found that 80% of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors are preparing for increased regulatory scrutiny in 2024. The data also highlights attracting and retaining talent, cost optimisation, and automation as key points on their agendas.

The study excitingly identified that eight out of ten finance chiefs are prioritising the preparation of their departments to be in line with more stringent regulatory scrutiny. This global trend is said to be intensified further by the worldwide surge in electronic invoicing and tax mandates, which are seen as highly effective strategies for governments seeking to combat tax evasion and reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) gap.

The research was conducted by world-renowned research and advisory firm Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Basware, a global pioneer in Accounts Payable (AP) automation and invoice processing. The study interviewed four individuals with experience using Basware and surveyed 108 finance leaders who oversee AP automation in the United States and Europe, regarding their plans for the next two years. This eclectic mix of participants, including CFOs, Finance Directors, and others holding significant budgetary decision-making power, provided a robust data set.

Interestingly, 82% of those surveyed emphasised the importance of attracting and retaining talent within their finance teams. Inflationary pressures and high interest rates have forced these finance leaders to seek ways to cut costs, with 82% stating that improving cash flows was a crucial concern for the coming year.

Other critical areas of focus identified were managing cost optimisation (82% of respondents), increasing efficiency (81%), and driving digital transformation (79%). A striking 84% of the finance leaders highlighted the automation of accounts payable as a crucial aspect of their digital transformation strategies.

When the finance leaders were questioned about the projected impact of AP automation on their businesses, 57% considered improving efficiency as a primary outcome. Approximately 52% believed that the process would favourably enhance their organisations' overall Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) footprint.

Jason Kurtz, the CEO of Basware, shared his insights, stating, "In an increasingly complex regulatory environment, CFOs cannot risk operating at anything less than the very highest industry benchmarks. With manual processes open to errors and delays, forward-thinking finance leaders are taking advantage of upcoming invoicing mandates as a burning platform to not only achieve the highest levels of compliance but also accelerate automation as part of a comprehensive digital transformation strategy."