The CFO's Guide to Evaluating Microsoft Products

From the perspective of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in your business, the your organization’s main pain points most likely center around accurate and timely sources of financial information, visibility of outstanding commitments and liabilities, and flexible analysis and reporting tools that enable you to access that information in any format needed, when it is needed.  Microsoft offers a comprehensive ecosystem of products that can perform analytical operations to identify potential issues, and improve collaboration between finance and other departments to address them. From high level visibility to the details to manage and address specific concerns, Microsoft provides solutions to optimize your financial business while mitigating risk.

Microsoft Power Automate

Gain real-time financial visibility across your organization to drive timely data-driven decisions with Dynamics 365 Finance

Microsoft solutions facilitate the centralization of all relevant data in one real-time source system with KPIs, flexible analytics, and the ability to drill-down into details on an ad-hoc basis. CFO’s optimize decisions through reliable customer payment predictions and effective cash flow forecasting. It is insufficient to only know the customer payment terms for open invoices. Predictive analytics based on actual customer payment history provide greater accuracy. Dynamics 365 Finance accounts receivable provides machine learning-based predictive customer payments.

Finance product screenshot

CFO Challenges:

  • Protecting Revenue and Margins: Lack of financial visibility and clear KPI’s to stay on track throughout the fiscal year
  • Reacting Quickly to Unanticipated Events: Lack of tools and accurate forecasting can leave your business unprepared
  • Effective and Accurate Budgeting: Market uncertainty reduces budget accuracy and confidence 
  • Reducing Costs Without Sacrificing Quality: Lack of efficiency-driving tools and effective change management hinder productivity potential
  • Cash Flow Pressures: Cash flow pressures and uncertainty due to abnormal market forces that are amplified in a post-COVID economy

Modernize your ERP with Dynamics 365 Finance to drive reporting and visibility to address your core challenges. Effectively manage expenses with the ability to set expense policies, back those policies up with spending controls tied to budgets, while enabling digital expense submission and approval from any device anywhere. Dynamics 365 Finance Budgeting provides this level of sending control. Additionally, automate vendor invoice processing and payment, customer payment settlements, and bank account reconciliation enabling your accountants to focus only on the exceptions. Generate savings from improved operational efficiency and employee productivity in excess of $50 million in the first 3 years while reducing costs and risks associated with running on legacy systems.

Connect your finance and operations applications with your customer-facing activities using Dynamics 365 and Dual Write

Win more sales and contracts while delivering a differentiated customer experience with solutions spanning sales acquisition processes, quotations, contracts, projects, and sales orders in an integrated system. These features are combined with estimating, forecasting and contract management in Dynamics 365 Finance that can be used to benchmark against actual performance. When Dynamics 365 Sales is connected to Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain using a dual write integration, financial managers have access to data across the customer experience and sales management processes, while retaining the ability to hold your organization’s ERP system’s data as the single version of the truth across all applications.

Microsoft’s dual write integration, when used alongside Dynamics 365 can help businesses streamline their prospect-to-cash process while offering essential insights to a CFO. 

  • Scale: Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications are cloud based with no user caps to accommodate your business’s growth
  • Integrate: With dual write, you can connect your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications to your ERP system to provide all departments visibility and access to the same information
  • Modernize: Eliminate inefficient communication processes through real-time information sharing
Data flow and directions with dual write

Utilize accurate analysis of comprehensive business data to optimize decision making

Businesses typically employ a variety of software tools across their organization, often mixing products from different software providers. This leads to a murky view of an organization’s data due to the disparate nature of information. Microsoft has combatted this issue with their development of the Dataverse. Dataverse is a database built on the Common Data Model with supported integrations to 350+ 3rd party apps and services without APIs. This facilitates inherit system compatibility and unification across software tools. Through this more integrated model, CFO’s can access a holistic view of their organizations and utilize tools such as Power BI to revolutionize reporting accuracy and potential.

Evaluating Microsoft Products as CFO

When evaluating Microsoft products as a CFO, you can refer to the prompts below to initiate conversations with fellow decision-makers in your business.  By participating in conversations around organization-wide pain points, you can begin to align your priorities with the priorities of your corporation as a whole. 

  • Does your entire organization have data silos that hinder the ability to make business decisions?
  • Does your organization have access to the critical KPIs and analytics that provide visibility to changing conditions and trends?
  • Does your reporting offer a centralized view of all business areas, with the ability to drill into, and filter data, to access critical details?
  • Are you armed with the visibility of future commitments and liabilities that may affect financial outcomes, revenues and margins?
  • Does your organization have the agility required to respond to a crisis?
  • Do your teams clearly know their roles, responsibility and compliance rules as applied to, and defined in, your software platform?
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