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Finance Professionals Focusing on Innovation and Adaptability in 2020

Finance Professionals Focusing on Innovation and Adaptability in 2020

A new study from BillingPlatform reveals the ways finance professionals are seeking to help their companies this year, including support for new products and changes to pricing and delivery options

Leading global cloud-based monetization and billing solution provider, BillingPlatform, announced the results of its 2020 Trends in Finance study. Over 300 finance vice presidents or directors in US companies with at least $50 million in annual revenue participated in the survey.

A key takeaway from the BillingPlatform research was that finance professionals are focusing on new ways to add value to their organizations. With a strong stock market, jobs growth, and few signs of slowdown in the economy, always-cautious finance professionals continue to look for ways to adapt and innovate. Among their areas of focus for 2020 are product development, business model changes, systems, and staffing.

“The findings of our study are consistent with what our customers are telling us,” said Dennis Wall, CEO of BillingPlatform. “The Finance function is a major contributor in generating new sources of revenue. Often these revenue sources come through new products and technology, but finance professionals know that new business models can contribute as well. BillingPlatform is eager to partner with these disruptive enterprises, providing a solution that enhances innovative business strategies while maintaining control over financial processes.”

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Following are some of the study’s highlights:

CFOs are Seeking Innovative Ways to Bring in New Revenue – Finance professionals surveyed by BillingPlatform indicated they are launching new products and services to increase market mix (60%), and 35% said they will leverage recurring or consumption-based billing to offer more attractive pricing on new products/services. They will have to overcome system constraints (23%), system consolidation (22%), and the transition of IT infrastructure (18%) to accomplish these goals.

Companies are Trying to Squeeze More Value from the Same Resources – Accomplishing more with the same or fewer resources is the highest priority challenge (18%) facing finance teams in 2020. Finance professionals are addressing this challenge by identifying ways to drive higher revenue through new products or services and reducing operating costs or capital investments (17%). They’re also investing in cloud technologies as part of a broader digital transformation effort (11%), and automating through AI or robotics (10%).

Finance Departments are Focusing on Tech Skills in Staffing Plans – Only 45% of survey respondents said they’re in great shape when it comes to their current team’s skill as they head into 2020, while 55% said they were in anywhere from okay to bad shape. Hiring workers with technical experience is a focal point, with 26% of respondents indicating that support for digital capabilities and advanced analytics are the most important job skills for new hires on finance teams.

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Regulatory Concerns Remain at the Forefront for Finance Departments – Despite being nearly 20 years old, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 remains a focus for finance professionals. Of those surveyed, 19% said the act, which set new or expanded requirements for all US public company boards, management, and public accounting firms, has been the most challenging regulatory change over the past three years. Curiously, 35% of respondents said this regulation was challenging to their departments because they had underestimated its impact. Meanwhile, Basel II/Basel III, a regulatory framework issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, was the second most challenging regulation, cited by 13% of survey respondents.

Cybersecurity is a Major Concern, and Many Finance Pros Aren’t Prepared – 39% of survey respondents said cybersecurity is among their top concerns/risks. Making matters worse, only 33% of finance professionals said they were in great shape to handle cybersecurity issues. Finance professionals believe awareness is key to addressing the cybersecurity problem. Staff education on potential scams is a focus for 37% of respondents, and 30% said they would talk to the CEO and other leadership about the potential financial impact of cybersecurity issues.

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