Are all departments keeping pace with digital transformation plans?

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Are all departments keeping pace with digital transformation plans?

Digital technology has enabled firms to dramatically improve efficiency and productivity, as well as drive down costs. 

But the benefits are limited unless every department of a business is on board with the adoption of new systems and processes.

This is proving to be a problem at many companies, as finance departments in particular seem to be sticking to old-fashioned, traditional approaches.

Are all departments keeping pace with digital transformation plans?


This is the finding of a study by Sapio Research and Wax Digital, which also revealed - perhaps unsurprisingly - that IT departments are leading the way with digital transformation.

Nevertheless, many IT bosses believe these efforts are being slowed down by their finance department, with 45 per cent saying the finance team is hindering their efforts to embrace new technology.

The problem in the finance department appears to go deeper than simply being stuck in one way of doing things.

  • 80% of finance bosses struggle to keep up with firms' digital objectives
  • 66% are more reliant on paper than other departments.
  • 58 per cent are unlikely to manage approvals or make decisions electronically.

Figures showed that finance teams rely on manual processes for many different day-to-day tasks.

Expenses are dealt with manually 36.5 per cent of the time, while budgeting and debtor management is manually handled 35 per cent and 34 per cent of the time respectively.

The study also revealed that 19 per cent of invoices come through the post, while nine per cent of invoices are delivered by fax and 15 per cent are delivered by hand. Just 23 per cent are sent by email and only 11 per cent come through e-invoicing platforms.

This strongly suggests that invoice management is a big area where businesses could look at automating processes in order to make processes more cost-effective and efficient.

Are all departments keeping pace with digital transformation plans?

The findings are interesting not just because of the extent to which finance departments are lagging behind other teams when it comes to digital adoption, but also they seem to be very aware of this fact.

Senior managers should therefore be making sure every department manager is fully bought into their firm's wider digital transformation strategy.

Since the embracing of new processes can push a firm forward, resistance in just one department can significantly hold back any progress.

Innovations such as artificial intelligence can enable businesses to spend less time on manual processes and reduce the chances of human errors affecting the outcome.

Ensuring each department has both the IT infrastructure and training to make the best use of the latest digital processes is therefore essential if a business wishes to remain competitive in their field.