- Author: Alexandra Cain
- Posted: June 22, 2020
Apps, Platforms & Tech Tips – CFOs Share their Technology Secrets
By Alexandra Cain
There’s no one-size-fits all approach when it comes to the tech tools that power a CFO’s work. Some, like Andrew Goodwin, CFO at Wisr, like to build their own tech. In contrast, Belinda Hogan, Chief of Finance at neobank 86 400 makes the most of Microsoft technologies. As a relatively smaller business, Zac Hayes, managing director of HA Accounting and CEO of The Travelling Podiatrist, relies on Xero and many of the fintechs in its ecosystem.
How a Fintech Builds
Non-bank lender and fintech Wisr has its own tech platform that runs its businesses including its credit decision engine. Goodwin has taken this approach so it can be flexible. This has allowed it to make a huge raft of changes to its tech stack and platform in response to current market conditions. “We’ve been able to have new tech releases up and running in a day, which is really powerful,” he says.
It does use MYOB for accounting and ASX reporting and it has a portfolio management system that manages its loan book. But all its regtech is managed internally.
Goodwin says as Wisr grows and scales it will look at developing its own regtech, insurtech and proptech tools. “These solutions can solve problems like movement of people in and out of our buildings. So there’s plenty of scope for more tech development.”
One-Stop Shop Approach
Microsoft software is at the core of Belinda Hogan and the 86 400 finance team’s work, which supports its underlying philosophy to leverage the tools it has at its disposal rather than falling into the trap of introducing tools with new bells and whistles for the sake of it. “We use a Microsoft General Ledger, which is a SaaS based offering quite new to Australia. We do everything in the cloud, which means we can be very dynamic.”
An advantage is how easily Microsoft General Ledger integrates with other Microsoft tools like Excel, Power BI, Power Query and Flow. “This gives us great automation, efficiency and their user interface makes them easy to use. All the tools in the Microsoft ecosystem integrate well with each other, including other tools as well. We really leverage the whole Office 365 suite.”
Although it is a Microsoft house, it does use certain specialist technologies. The Australian-made regulatory reporting tool Cortell’s CoreBIS is an example. “It has hundreds of forms with thousands of data fields. It’s allowed us to keep our head count low and reduce our operational risk. It means we can spend more time on analysis and providing better information, rather than day-to-day number crunching,” says Hogan.
When it comes to planning new software implementations, Zac Hayes works backwards from the outcomes the business is trying to achieve and mud maps the workflow through individual departments and across the company.
Hayes uses Monday to manage workflows across both his finance and allied health companies. “Its transparency, visibility and automation are really valuable. Combining this with survey tool Typeform, free spreadsheet software Google Sheets and app connection tool Zapier has reduced our admin headcount.”
He says the efficiencies and systematisation this has produced supports the personal service the business delivers to clients.
Hayes uses a combination of CorePlus and Xero to manage his allied health business’s finances, which he says are user-friendly tech that support good communication, synchronisation and integration. “Xero means I am looking at real time data and able to give valuable, transparent advice.”
As it syncs with Xero, he relies on Spotlight as his management and KPI reporting system. “It supports internal discussions about company and departmental performance, looking at bottom line improvements, which products and service need work as well as those that are performing really well. It’s the tech that allows for strategic CFO conversations around numbers and goals.”
Powering the Future
Although they may all use different tools, CFOs agree it’s important to have the right vision to make the most of emerging technologies.
“Have a roadmap for where you’re trying to go. Don’t overinvest; try to see where you’re going rather than constantly bolting on,” says Goodwin.
Hogan agrees. “We’re cautious about over-investing early on. But we also don’t want to underinvest and have all these processes that take so long that we get distracted from building new tech. It’s a delicate balancing act to get right.”