At the CFO Innovation Forum held in Kuala Lumpur, SAP Chief Financial Officer for Southeast Asia, Thomas Zipperle, shared that he believes business is accelerating rapidly in the digital world today.
“Digitisation has made the world ‘smarter’, and chief financial officers (CFO) must be well versed in the latest technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, process automation, internet-of-things as well as bots.”
Thomas also emphasised the importance for CFOs to deal with the trends that bring a new reality in terms of financial excellence.
“Take for example the rise of the millennial workforce; the younger workforce tend to prefer working from their smartphones, and even executives request to be able to approve workflows on their mobile devices ‘on the go’. Adoption of innovation needs to speed up significantly in the finance function. Millennials grew up with these gadgets and technology so, in order to attract these young talents, we need to provide them with the right environment.”
On top of smarter technologies, he also identified some of the significant trends that impact finance, such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, hyper-connectivity, and supercomputing. He pointed out that the rise of cloud computing pushed the development of innovations that led to faster adoption of technologies.
During the forum, Thomas shared some of the case studies that involved artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning which assists in CFO functions. These include predictive analytics’ creation of unbiased forecasts, chatbot analytics, and setting up intelligent Delegation of Authority (DoA).
He highlighted SAP business solutions which leverages machine learning in automating invoice clearance as a piece needed for an integrated procurement system. This clearance was implemented in 2017. SAP can auto-clear large volumes of invoices with the SAP Cash Application, their machine learning tool.
With regards to the SAP Cash Application, Thomas said:
“SAP Cash Application has freed up the accounts receivable team to concentrate on meeting other challenges, such as resolving issues with customers and speeding up payments.”
Additionally, he stated the importance of collaboration between digital transformation and people transformation and outlined the importance for companies to become “intelligent enterprises.”
Throughout the years, SAP has been introducing an intelligent suite of solutions that assist customers in automating their daily operational processes to help them interact better both internally and externally.
One of the cloud-based SAP business solutions, SAP Concur, improves the automation, analytics and integration for expense and travel processes.
“End-to-end, automated data synchronisation between SAP Concur and other business applications provides management with more visibility into employee spend. This way, management can more effortlessly and accurately manage expenses to get a complete view of company spend in one place.”