Seven trends impacting finance this year.

Author:Cohen, Bob

The movement to embrace mobility and social media in the marketplace is having a major impact on finance departments, changing the way that business is conducted and opening up opportunities to enhance visibility, productivity and decision-making.

As spend management and profitability remain the most pressing issues for companies, they continue to look for more efficient and cost-effective ways to achieve these key objectives. Companies that can adapt to the changing business environment and leverage new business processes and technologies will be significantly ahead of the curve and better positioned for growth.

Here are some key business trends that should be on a company's radar and ways to effectively implement them:

* There's an App for That.

With the walls between business and personal crumbling, mobile apps are hitting the finance department and it's a win-win for the organization and employees alike. In this new bring-your-own-device (BYOD) world, employees are carrying their personal mobile devices to work and the convenience of using the same device for both purposes is indisputable.

On the business front, it delivers productivity and workflow benefits to the organization--allowing employees to easily conduct core business processes anywhere, anytime.

Apps for purchase to pay, for example, are enabling professionals to review, approve and reject invoices and purchase requisitions on the go. In addition to speeding up these processes and avoiding bottlenecks, it provides data visibility and actionable performance insight wherever and whenever it is needed.

* Moving to the Cloud.

The value of the cloud is that it opens up automation opportunities for companies of all sizes. It is particularly useful for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that previously were unable to take advantage of these opportunities since automation often requires information technology (IT) resources and time-consuming implementation.

The fact that cloud-based apps require little IT resources from a company, and are less expensive than traditional solutions, make them very appealing for companies of all sizes and especially SMBs. By conducting financial operations in the cloud, finance departments gain agility and can quickly accommodate evolving industry regulations, mergers and acquisitions and other changes, without requiring IT involvement.

Given the sensitive nature of financial information, companies of all sizes are demanding the highest levels of...

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