The Deal Economy

Choosing the right rebate software for your finance transformation

As any CFO who has undertaken finance transformation knows, it can be problematic and time-consuming. It requires careful planning and the right resources, and can end up being costly, especially without the proper planning in place.

However, since the pandemic – COVID-19 has forced finance transformation back to the top of the CFO agenda, it is now critical for finance to step up if they are to keep up with the evolving needs and strategies of the business. According to Gartner Predicts 2021: Navigating the Evolving Financial Management Market report: “As the pains and struggles of legacy solutions have been well understood and their weaknesses in current solutions becoming a hindrance, projects that have been slated for 2024-25 have been gaining support, with many organizations looking to bring these forward to 2023”.

Finance transformation initiatives enable finance teams to better serve as strategic partners for the business. One-way organisations can transform the finance function and achieve better business outcomes is by streamlining their rebate management processes and embracing technology.

True finance transformation comes from a combination of process, system and cultural change. It doesn’t make good financial sense to spend money on a technology overhaul if your finance team cannot then use that technology. In this blog we discuss some key features your rebate management software should have that can power your own finance transformation.

Three-steps-to-evaluate-your-finance-transformation-target

Collaboration and remote working capabilities

With working remotely becoming the norm, we are relying more and more on technology to get work done and collaborate. According to Gartner, “Many have often found their legacy solutions to be too IT-reliant and a hindrance to enterprise collaboration within finance departments and other finance areas.” This also reiterates the importance of cloud solutions for your finance transformation, which can be accessed by multiple members of staff from anywhere in the world to help facilitate a more transparent way of working. If your team is still relying on manual rebate management methods, remote working is sure to make this more difficult, leading to more error prone data.

Critical questions to ask your software vendor:

• Is the solution available in the cloud or on-premise only?
• Can I securely access my data anytime, anywhere?
• Can multiple team members edit the same data/documents at the same time?
• Can I collaborate easily with my trading partners?

Cloud vs legacy systems

Modern finance teams should be able to work anytime, anywhere and from any device with a web browser. If yours doesn’t this could be one of the first things to consider for your finance transformation. This is best accomplished by using a cloud or software as a service (SaaS) platform. For example, cloud-based rebate management platforms can enable your team to import and export data simply, collaborate with trading partners and negotiate new deals. Whereas using a legacy system is labour intensive, key person-dependant and can end up costing more than you ever imagined.

According to Gartner “Organizations have found that the move from on-premises to cloud solutions is typically not a simple technical upgrade. It represents an opportunity to redefine and transform their finance organization”.

Critical questions to ask your software vendor:

• How secure and reliable is the cloud?
• Can your cloud scale up to meet my business needs?
• Will my company need to hire more IT staff to handle the transition to the cloud?

Automation

The problems with Excel spreadsheets are no secret within the finance world. They are error-prone, slow and take a lot of manual labour to update and lack auditability. This puts finance teams working in this way at very high risk – and creates a lot of uncertainty, especially when approaching a finance transformation.

To avoid losing the trust of business leaders with outdated, inconsistent or incorrect data, a modern rebate management system is needed to eliminate manual data entry by updating all your deals automatically, eliminating the risk of errors. Automation frees up today’s finance team members to plan for tomorrow, whatever form that will take. In these uncertain times, that has never been more important.

Critical questions to ask your software vendor:

• Does data update in real time?
• Is there a full audit trail to track when a change is made and by whom?

Forecasting and reporting capabilities

Finance is responsible for analysing a wide band of financial data from across the company which means they need to be able to report and forecast correctly. When it comes to reporting, you need a system that lets you review earnings, due and overdue rebate and access a complete log of payments.

Accurate forecasting is also vital for finance because if rebate data is not captured correctly you could be driving your forecasts with incorrect dates and values which will inevitably lead to discrepancies with your actual numbers. When rebate forecasting is systematized and data-driven, the chances of a dispute are much lower. And if a dispute does arise, a good audit trail will allow finance to resolve it swiftly and fairly.

Critical questions to ask your software vendor:

• What reports are offered as standard?
• Can I compare multiple forecasts?
• What different forecast options are available?

Audit trail and approval workflow

An ideal rebate management platform should enable you to control access and enable different finance roles to view and edit certain deals. An audit trail of activity gives you that all-important visibility to kickstart your finance transformation.

Workflow processes are generally repetitive or routine tasks, making them frequent targets for admin errors such as, sending the agreement to the wrong person or even forgetting to get the agreement signed off at all! With an approval workflow process you have peace of mind that all your deals are reviewed and signed off by the correct people in a timely manner.

Critical questions to ask your software vendor:

• Can you set different permission levels?
• Can you communicate within the platform and add comments or requests?
• Can you capture e-signatures within the system?

What’s next for your finance transformation?

A successful finance transformation positively impacts everyone across your business on a daily basis. It gives your finance team greater insights into your business, offering accurate rebate data and reporting, ultimately lowering risk to make you more compliant. All this can be executed by implementing Enable rebate management software.