Yes, it is.
And while The Prophet thinks the naysayers will call him a fool, all the doctor can say is, join the club! There’s lots of room … only a few of us have been correctly calling the future for almost two decades, and all of us who have been have also been called foolish, crazy, and worse. I’d rather be right than popular. At least I’ll be ready for what’s coming …
COVID started a big push into “FinTech” investments as everyone realized that no-travel, and even no offices, meant you needed online/SaaS payment systems, contract systems, financing systems (as you couldn’t walk into a bank), etc. The CFO slowly realized there was more to modern Finance Tech (FinTech) than online spreadsheets. Plus, as they realized they needed visibility into Legal and Procurement, they wanted companion contract, risk, and P2P systems and/or customized interfaces for them.
As a result, we will start to see the rise of Finance suites that, as The Prophet points out, will integrate:
- AR & O2C
- Expense Management
- Commodity Management
- Corp Dev / M&A
as well as
- Spend Intelligence (with all data/reports updated at least monthly)
- Inventory Management (with visibility into overhead costs vs. depreciation)
Moreover, as The Prophet has pointed out, each of these areas is very complex. Spend Matters considers AP alone as including the following areas: core AP workflow, dynamic discounting, e-invoicing compliance, fraud detection and prevention, supply chain finance, tax compliance, tax management and working capital management.
When you get into AR/O2C, you then get into PO receipt and tracking, shipment tracking and notification, invoice generation and transmission, invoice receipt acknowledgement, payment receipt, etc.
Expense Management may or may not include P-cards and/or virtual cards, and may or may not include catalogs, travel management, integrated airline or hotel bookings, app integration for auto-expense report generation (snap & go), etc.
Risk breaks down across multiple dimensions across supplier and supply chain risk, and for more information, see the doctor‘s Source-to-Pay series (especially Parts 15 to 20) and the first 9 parts of the doctor‘s Source-to-Pay+ series which are all on (primarily) supply chain risk.
Contract management breaks down into Negotiation, Analytics, and Governance, and each of these area has a lot of baseline functionality that is required (as covered in the Source-to-Pay series referenced above in parts 21 to 25).
And so on … it’s a mega-suite that goes far beyond your average S2P mega-suite.
However, before writing off the effort as too intensive or too expensive, one must remember that Finance is ultimately responsible for cutting the cheque, so they are going to want visibility into where the money goes and how it is supposed to be used. Not to mention, sometimes the only authority they need to cut the cheque is their own, so it might be an easier sale to sell or joint-sell to the CFO as well as another C-Suite exec. So a great FinTech Suite could be the easiest sell a new back office tech start up or aggregator could have!