Technology is critical to the future of the finance function as automation and artificial intelligence evolves and becomes mainstream. Some estimates suggest that 90 per cent of all finance transactions will eventually be automated.
At RSM we have invested heavily into technology in our UK accounting hubs to support our outsourced finance function offering. By choosing onshore locations, we can manage systems upgrades efficiently, work with UK and European clients in the same time zones and always offer our clients a resilient outsourced model.
Spreading the implementation and licence costs of these investments over our 100+ client base, offers them access to modern technology at a fraction of the cost of purchasing it alone. What’s more, they do not have to spend time on system selections, maintenance and upgrades.
And because of RSM’s continuing upgrade to our technology infrastructure, our clients always have the latest version of those platforms and tools deployed as part of their outsourced finance function.
Stage one: The finance system
All change starts with a vision. At stage one, our vision was to have a suite of cloud-based technologies that would integrate with our chosen finance system of choice.
As Europe’s leading implementation partner of Oracle NetSuite, it was natural that RSM should place the NetSuite cloud-based platform, with its financial engine, at the heart of our outsourcing technology suite.
Flexible, dynamic General Ledger segments store transactions for multi-dimensional reporting - a single version of truth that allows our clients to receive the information they need to support their core business focus.
Internationally, consolidations at the subsidiary and parent entity level are effortless with multi-currency management that supports 190+ currencies and exchange rates and multi-language support in 19 languages.
In addition, the multiple accounting books function means we can maintain full control over differences between the group reporting and local GAAP. In addition, pre-configured tax codes and localised reporting for over 50 countries drives compliance with local regulations. Where needed we can draw on the experience and support of RSM member firms in over 120 countries worldwide.
To manage cost and add simplicity into the outsourced process, we have created a standard, or Blackbox, configuration of NetSuite that builds in best practice workflows and streamlined processes, drawing on our experience of managing the same tasks several hundred times a month over our total client base.
Stage two: How to prepare and share MI effectively
Whilst Oracle NetSuite has some great reporting capabilities, making changes to the reports requires a little experience and adding in graphics and visual displays can take time.
We therefore produced a cloud-based reporting tool and client portal, “RSM Cloud Reporting and Analytics.” This system synchronises the financial transactions by segment, allowing us to prepare all the profit and loss and balance sheet Management Information that our clients require. Reports can be “tweaked” by “Click and dragging” columns or simple adding in codes, periods and other requirements.
Stage three: Analytics
Historic MI reporting is useful to management, but more and more businesses are starting to use analytics to analyse historic performance and trends more closely. This is undertaken to compare their performance to similar businesses in their sectors and to predict the outcome of future products and business strategies. At RSM, we gather a range of data points from across our systems, our clients and from external knowledge management sources and then house these in a secure data lake. From this we can use powerful analytics tools to analyse those data points, producing standard as well as bespoke reports for our clients.
Stage 4: Invoice capture
We use an invoice capture platform with OCR recognition to efficiently “enter” and store Accounts Payable invoices into NetSuite. Workflow approval functionality is then used to approve the invoices ready for payment.