As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q3 2019 Issue
WHEN CFOS ASK, ‘WHAT CAN I GET OUT OF THIS DATA?’ SUTHERLAND CAN HELP THEM PUT THE RELEVANT INFORMATION TO WORK IN THEIR BUSINESSES FASTER
To understand how the Finance organization role has changed in today’s digital age, we recently interviewed Jim Lusk, CFO, and Tim Leger, SVP Business Process Transformation, for Sutherland, a digital process transformation company headquartered in Rochester, NY. Sutherland’s focus is on improving the customer experience and delivering meaningful and measurable business outcomes to clients. Lusk and Leger provide a unique perspective, bringing insights from a company’s CFO as well as from a business leader responsible for partnering with primarily small and medium businesses to transform and automate their Finance operations.
Jim started by sharing that, as CFO, his ultimate goal is “to become a strategic partner to the business.” To achieve this, his top priority is to make “the Finance organization more agile, forward looking and decision-centric to address stakeholders’ growing demands for access to the right information, at the right time, to make the right decisions. With the right data and business insights, he said, “you can really beat your competition. Th e most important question you need to ask is, ‘What information do we have that is not being used that can help the business run better?’ ”
Jim, like most CFOs, shares a passion for improving business operations, and recently completed a “multiyear end-to-end intelligent
transformation” of Sutherland’s entire Finance organization. It included implementing a new ERP system along with digital technologies and
an analytics platform. Th e results are noteworthy. The 50 percent operating cost savings are impressive, but the true benefits, Jim pointed
out, were the “business outcomes delivered and improved controls and compliance.” The department’s process transformation significantly improved cash fl ow by reducing DSO (days sales outstanding) to world-class levels. By rethinking and digitizing its transaction activities, the close was reduced from 22 calendar days to 7, leaving time to analyze results as opposed to just reporting them.
The most important result was significant improvement in customer satisfaction, achieved by automating the billing process. Automation improved accuracy while at the same time reducing cycle time from 80 hours to less than 8 hours.
Jim admitted the significant advantage he had was a built-in partner, Tim’s F&A transformation team. They have 8,000 finance professionals working with clients to create next-generation Finance organizations. Tim shared that a majority of small to-medium businesses, even some Fortune 500 companies, lack the skills and investments required to truly transform their Finance operations. An
interesting statistic he quoted was that “more than 50 percent of companies that try this themselves fail. The primary reason is that they lack the required automation experience, and there is a shortage of those skills in the market. My organization has that expertise to accelerate automation and takes on the risk of delivering the results.”