HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Adrian Johnston

How are Finance Teams Closing Their Books Remotely?


In today’s business environment, many companies are adopting to the ‘new normal’ of remote operations to minimise disruption. Globally, finance teams are presented with a new challenge – closing their books remotely for the first time.

To address these challenges, companies are given the nudge to try out different methods to make remote working effective and smooth – from regular check in’s with their employees to hearing out and adopting to their needs. This helps ensure companies create a more conducive environment to gain the trust of their employees during these times.

How are companies in Singapore responding to the current times?
Some companies are performing better than others, whilst a few are even taking on new methods to enable their businesses to continue to run smoothly as they start working remotely.

With finance being an integral aspect and part to the survival of businesses, having a secure virtual private network (VPN) capacity and access licenses is increasingly important now more than ever. Some companies are also re-evaluating their IT infrastructure to ensure they have the right remote management tools in place to face any challenges that may arise.

The pros and cons of working remotely
Flexibility, transparency and autonomy are three key aspects that employees should adopt as they start reaching out to their fellow colleagues virtually. Moreover, finance teams that use cloud software in managing their processes have the upper hand in this playing field – as their teams have easy access to one set of shared data, integrated workflows, and to up-to-date technology. This guarantees employees face least disruption in order to maintain operational excellence.

For instance, global marine services provider Swire Pacific Offshore is leveraging an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to create an integrated financial system that would drive work efficiency, financial accuracy and data integrity across its operations worldwide. In doing so, the marine services provider hopes to enhance their internal controls, compliance and reporting with real-time data.

Why are some companies outperforming others at working remotely?
Finance teams that currently depend on cloud-computing technology to automate accruals, adjustments and internal transactions could see a more promising close than those who are still using on-premise technology on virtual private networks or manually enter their data into spreadsheets.

A reason for this is because companies with cloud-computing technology dashboards display all the activities at one glance, providing everyone with a real-time view of the status of all vital components such as completion metrics, aged open items, ensuring finance teams are kept up to date with accurate information.

Building business resilience
We cannot downplay what organisations are experiencing during the current economic downturn. With companies adopting different measures to maintain its business processes and close their financial quarters remotely, it’s clear that some are performing better than others. However, as technological capabilities are being put to the test, organisations that want to come out of it stronger and be more resilient to unknown challenges that lie ahead, should move forward with modern finance solutions that can help them meet the future with confidence.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Adrian Johnston

Adrian Johnston

Adrian Johnston is senior vice president of applications for Oracle in Japan and Asia Pacific. He is responsible for leading the business for Oracle’s cloud offerings in the apps space.

Johnston first joined Oracle in 2002 as vice president of applications and product operations for Asia Pacific. He then went on to hold several other positions, including vice president of the applications midmarket business unit. From 2008 to 2015, Johnston held the position of vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Division in Asia, after which he returned to Oracle. Johnston holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New South Wales.

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