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Financial leaders in distribution are now strategic partners enabling business success through data-driven insights.

By utilizing innovative digital technologies, they see all functional areas of their organizations in order to make smarter, quicker financial decisions that help drive performance and increase profits in the face of economic uncertainty, supply chain disruptions, and other ongoing challenges.

Today, financial performance—far more than growth or efficiency—is the most significant factor in short- and long-term IT investments, with the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) helping lay a foundation for modern financial management. Discover more insights like this in a new IDC report about the evolution of financial leaders in distribution and manufacturing.

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Getting Granular: Financial Performance Data with FP&A

The top priority for financial leaders in distribution is financial planning and analysis, according to IDC. FP&A gives a comprehensive view of financial performance by streamlining processes and providing data at the granular level. The advanced reporting, budgeting and planning, and consolidation capabilities of FP&A enable financial leaders to leverage their technical and fiduciary expertise into business partnerships with a strategic and operational focus.

You may have plenty of data to analyze. The issue lies not in quantity, but in easily accessing useful data, in the right format, when you need it. To become a “data-driven distributor” capable of transforming data into a powerful growth engine, this actionable guide is the place to start. It outlines seven key challenges preventing companies from effectively collecting, organizing, analyzing, and acting on data, and share practical advice on how to overcome these roadblocks.

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How Savvy CFOs Are Using Modern FP&A Software

Distribution CFOs are now using financial planning and analysis software to help them stay ahead of the competition. These tools help them to:

  • Track sales data
  • Monitor inventory levels
  • Analyze customer behavior
  • Forecast future sales and revenue

The detailed reports provide real-time insights into business performance, allowing them to identify areas of improvement and make strategic decisions. By using financial planning and analysis software, distributors can streamline financial processes and reduce the risk of errors by automating routine tasks like data entry or report generation

From Finance Department to a Strategic Business Leader

As financial leaders take on new areas of responsibility, like procurement or risk, they need to optimize core financials. When financial management solutions are simple to use and powerful to run, they can help financial leaders automate accounts payable, coordinate capital appropriation processes with long-term planning, and quickly get the right data for period-end closing.

Enhancing Decision Making with Integration-Led Automation

For finance and accounting groups in distribution, the top barriers to digital transformation are limited access to data, minimal visibility into operational performance, and the inability to collaborate across departments. Easy-to-use, AI-powered, low-code/no-code data automation tools can enable teams to:

  • Automate workflows between people, apps, and platforms.
  • Eliminate manual tasks and improve accuracy.
  • Increase productivity and make smarter decisions.

Improving Data Visualization with Business Intelligence

Financial leaders in distribution identify business intelligence (BI) and data analytics as two of the most impactful technologies over the next five years. Modern BI solutions display complex data sets in intuitive and interactive dashboards, giving cross-functional finance teams simple ways to:

  • See real-time financials throughout the organization.
  • Track accounts payable & receivable, general ledger, and budgets.
  • Develop strategic plans to manage economic pressures.

Meeting Compliance with Document Traceability

In an evolving regulatory environment, compliance continues to be a top concern for finance and accounting groups, especially for distributors wanting to expand into new markets or regions. With AI/ML content management and business process automation, teams gain the power to:

  • Automate workflows between people, apps, and platforms.
  • Eliminate manual tasks and improve accuracy.
  • Increase productivity and make smarter decisions.

Embracing a Two Tier ERP Strategy for Enterprises

Enterprises can enable agility and resilience with a two tier ERP strategy that empowers a global, distributed workforce and helps financial leaders:

  • Increase access to data.
  • Streamline collaboration.
  • Simplify financial reporting.
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Boosting Revenue and Profits with Cloud ERP

Distribution CFOs need dynamic business solutions—that’s why half of those still using on premises ERP plan to migrate to the cloud within the next year or two. Cloud ERP provides a foundation for financial leaders to:

  • Eliminate data silos.
  • Enable data utilization.
  • Reduce closing-process complexity.