Updated May 31, 2023
Overview of Agile Finance
Agile Finance is a new Research program on how finance can be managed and be used to lead the business successfully in today’s uncertainty and also creating value in the digital economy. This research is done by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, commissioned by Oracle.
A new operating model that is responsive and change-ready has been embraced by Agile Finance leaders for finance. In order to provide the strategic guidance and analytical capability for insight, the Agile finance leaders are adopting digital technologies while investing in new skill sets in order to embrace new digital business models and their ways of working.
Agile finance is a new operating model for modern finance, it is a new breed of collaborative finance investing in a range of new skills and competencies, enabled by technologies.
By accepting the old traditional and manual ways of budgeting and forecasting processes, companies make the process laborious, frustrating, and tedious. But now with the help of the IT department who has spent decades in evolving the way software is developed, today the process of planning the future has become simplified and harmonious by applying principles of agile development methodology to easily and quickly complete the critical projects and operate more efficiently.
An Agile organization is flexible, fit, alert, nimble, profitable, efficient, resilient, and liquid. An agile organization is aware that hoe the value is generated by the business, they stay alert to risks and threats in the market, and they always lookout for opportunities. Great strategies are developed by the organization, which promptly implemented also. They are quick in performance management, by building and testing ideas swiftly, and constantly distributing resources looking at the best returns and prospects.
Characteristics of Agile Finance
To make your organization Agile, and adopt the agile approaches to benefit Finance, finance should be running smoothly and shall have the following characteristics:
1. Has scalable and efficient accounting operations.
2. To measure and manage progress develops performance metrics and milestones to enable the business to apply new strategies and get services and products to market quickly.
3. Must have an understanding of how the business model works and is able to inform strategy and know what the intangibles and drivers of value are, which is important for the success of the model.
4. Making sure and informing the decision-makers about the external developments, new technologies, new business models, and giving them all the information to develop a strategic response. The main reason for the failure of the business is because they neglect to address an external risk which they had known about but was not ready to make a difference over the planning horizon of 18 months or more.
5. To provide transparency about what’s happening in the business and what’s not and also to identify opportunities to manage risk proactively, to innovate, and to optimize resource allocation, the team shall develop dimensional analysis.
How Finance is Benefitted by Applying Agile to Planning Technology
Here we will learn how the finance is benefitted by applying agile approaches to planning technology:
1. Increase in Decision Velocity
Scrum teams which are a small, cross-functional group of people, working together and checking in regularly for problem-solving and progress reports are at the heart of Agile techniques. Finance can also apply this technique and make small teams that meet regularly having the functional authority for decision making to move the project forward. This increases decision velocity focusing on the highest priority objectives and developing well-defined control of decision making and governance criteria.
2. Equalize the Data
Tight standards for data are created by the best IT architectures that rely on one data that consists of all approved data, a ‘single source of truth’. A single source of truth to plan technology investments focuses on insights discussion to help to transform needs of business eliminates confusion over competing for data sets, fosters collaboration between IT teams and finance team and helps in quicker budget decisions.
3. Reduces Complexity
Complexity goes against agility. Finance involves a lot of people in crafting, analyzing, and approving budgets which leads to complexity whereas Agility involves very few people in decision making. Agile techniques will help the finance team to simplify lines of accountability and devolve decision-making rights to fewer people of the organization reducing the complexity. In order to remove manual intervention in finance, bringing transparency on decision justification you can consider automating approval processes.
4. Rapid Redeployment of Resources
Agility means wherever there is an opportunity or threat resources can be rapidly directed towards it. In the larger organization, fast redeployment means a substitutable workforce, trained to switch between positions, admission to external labor pools as on tap external contractors, a process that helps in quickly reallocation resources when and where required. To meet these needs, the Finance and IT team should also evaluate, whether or not the teams are trained resourced, and trained and consider applying such principles for the rapid redeployment of resources.
5. Agile Finance Leaders
The most common characteristic of the finance teams that have made the most progress using the agile finance model has been identified. As found by the researchers these Agile finance leaders had a very advanced specialization in centralizing and migrating processes to shared service centers, and they used a very substitutable workforce and cloud-based ERP. In terms of informing agile performance management, supporting agile implementation and in terms informing strategy they were very ahead of the rest.
The survey by the researchers found out that among the most progressive organization using the agile finance model, 95% had faced positive growth over the past three years, in their revenue performance, compared to 70% of other respondents.
6. Broader Skillset
An agile finance function requires to offer and develop new skills to serve an agile business. In the near future, the following will change the accountant’s role along with the automation of knowledge work.
- Mobile Information: This will allow partners of the business to able to derive any information required from the finance instantly, when and wherever required.
- Internet of things: The manufacturing of business models will be changed due to this, as when the products are being used, customers can supply information about customer’s usage and needs.
- Advanced robotics: To automate routine processes, robotic process automation is already being used in finance.
This has been a guide to Agile Finance. Here we discussed the Concept, Characteristics, and Benefits of Finance in Agile. You can also go through our other Suggested Articles to learn more –