What Is the Role of the Finance Business Systems Team?
I’ve built and managed finance business systems teams at several different companies. Because of this, I often get asked what role they play? To answer, I explain how I ended up in these roles. I started my career in FP&A before slowly gravitating toward Oracle. Eventually, I began overseeing enterprise applications and more specifically finance applications given my background.
Before business systems teams ever existed, my role traditionally rolled up under the IT organization, although sometimes I resided within research and development. Over time, as more organizations gravitated to SaaS applications, it became clear that finance needed a dedicated resource to manage its ever-growing tech stack, which led to the introduction of finance business systems teams.
Purpose of the Finance Business Systems Team
The primary job of the finance business systems team is to support the ERP side of the house, i.e., the finance and accounting functions. It acts as a liaison between the finance organization, system users, and whoever manages/owns the system. . These owners can be the organization’s own IT department that built or is planning to build a proprietary system or any number of external vendors’ systems who have developed specific financial applications or platforms.
Within that role, the business systems team helps to continuously guide the finance organization in selecting, implementing, integrating, and maintaining its technology stack.
Scope of the Finance Business Systems Team
The types of applications that the finance business systems team oversees vary by organization and depend on its size, but its purview generally includes these key systems:
· Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform
· Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
· Human Resource Information System (HRIS)
· Business Intelligence (BI) platform
It also manages all of the integrating systems that automate specific finance or accounting functions, including the following:
· Cash flow performance and AR collections
· SaaS billing
· Contract management
· Budgeting and planning
· Data management
· Month-end close
· Sales tax
· Compensation and payroll
Additionally, the finance business systems team is responsible for Master Data Management and figuring out how to integrate all of the data housed in the previously mentioned systems so that end users don’t have to search for information in multiple systems.
Staffing of the Finance Business Systems Team
When organizations realize their need for a finance business systems team, they often encounter the challenge of staffing it because it is such a niche skill. An ideal first hire is an internal candidate exposed to the organization’s operations and systems. For example, an IT person with a knack for accounting or someone in finance/accounting interested in technology.
Once that person is in place and gets going, you can decide how many additional resources you need. Since you already have a foundation for your team, candidates can be sourced internally or externally. As you recruit, make sure the people you hire possess these two key traits: the ability to act as a consultant for the finance team and the willingness and aptitude to continue learning.
Want to understand the importance of a business systems team to your finance organization? Listen to Tesorio’s webinar, The CFO’s Secret Weapon: How to Build Your Business Systems Team.