A CFO's Guide to Traversing through the Nitty-gritties of Today's Cloud Era

A certified Chartered Accountant, Devesh is a seasoned finance industry professional with over 32 years of experience in handling numerous cross-functional roles across organizations from varied verticals.

In a recent interaction with Siliconindia, Devesh shared his insights on the evolving role of CFOs in today’s constantly evolving technology landscape and even expressed his opinion on how cloud technology is disrupting the finance ecosystem. Read further to know about this exciting topic -

The CFO must do a clear analysis of the TCO that the new solution might require, correlate with the ROI that it might bring-in and check if it aligns with the company's budget and financial objectives

Tell us about the evolution of your career from a finance professional into a fintech industry expert

The most advanced technology that I witnessed at the beginning of my career was the fax machine. Computers were still yet to come into existence and finance organizations had large DTP teams to log all the transactions manually. Over time, we did see the emergence of first generation systems and computers, but they could not be integrated together to be able to communicate with each other. When I suggested this to the internal IT team and started working closely with them, I realized that leveraging technology into the existing finance function can help us get better outcomes. I continued working on ways in which we can leverage various tech tools to streamline our entire process and get optimized results, and thus began my stint as a full-fledged fintech professional.

Can you share some of the characteristics of a successful CFO?

The first and foremost quality of a CFO is to have a clear understanding of industry dynamics such as regulatory changes, risks, tech advancements and many others. Secondly, he must ensure to connect all these aspects together systematically for the organization to stay functional and free of any hassles or complexities. Also, the CFO must ensure that the finance operations of the company stay aligned with achieving the overall organizational objectives, and not function as solo entity. Most importantly, although finance is his/her area of operation & expertise, they must try to expose themselves to as many other functions as possible, which will help them take better decisions.

What are some of the key aspects CFOs must consider while selecting a fintech solution?

Firstly, the CFO must have a clear understanding of the various functions/capabilities of the solution and then ensure it is easy to deploy and configure. Also, since the system has access to huge amounts of data, the solution must be able to analyze all that data in the most optimum way possible and give-out meaningful insights for the company to make informed decisions. Additionally, the solution must be capable of processing all the transactions in a seamless manner with minimum or zero human intervention. Furthermore, the CFO must do a clear analysis of the TCO that the new solution might require, correlate with the ROI that it might bring-in and check if it aligns with the company's budget and financial objectives. Most importantly, he/she must make sure that the integration of the new solution simplifies the process and does not make it more complex.

Briefly explain the advantages of having a cloud for BFSIs

Having a cloud-based infrastructure enables BFSIs to have zero worries about managing the IT infrastructure and helps them in critical functions such as disaster recovery and auto backups, which play a significant in ensuring business continuity in our industry. Another key advantage of having a cloud infrastructure is that the organization gets access to numerous industry-best practices that enable it to be flexible in scaling its operations as per the demand. While using a well-developed cloud solution like Oracle does have its own set of benefits, selecting the cloud solution provider must be decided based on their customers' pain points are, why the company is expects from this cloud implementation and similar other mission-critical aspects. When searching for a cloud provider, organizations should consider factors such as the simplicity of operations, deployment efficiency, deployment speed, ease of training and skill acquisition, information accessibility, automation capabilities, and fostering a paperless environment. Through a seamless integration with Oracle's advanced suite of applications, we have been able to successfully automate and streamline our financial operations.

How do you expect the financial service institutions to evolve in the coming years to keep-up with ever changing market dynamics?

Given the rapid pace at which new tech advancements are happening in recent times, systems and applications must evolve faster than ever before. Based on numerous use cases, they must also build-in a lot of automation capabilities into their systems so that they will require zero human intervention. Although this will require huge capital investments, BFSIs must look at the tremendous advantages that this will bring-in – both in terms of ROI and process optimization.