Becoming a valued strategic partner: Data-driven finance comes of age

The Hackett Group and EXL join with top tier clients to discuss global business services as an enabler to data-driven finance

As organizations continue to expand globally, they are increasingly challenged to address regional accounting practices and procedures, cost and wage structures, employee turnover patterns, third-party service providers, and disparate systems across the enterprise. How can finance organizations stay on track of all this and become valued, trusted advisors to businesses? What technology and transformation alternatives are available to help facilitate consistent, efficient financial reporting, alongside the greater vision of strategic value-creation through informed decisions?

Top finance organizations, including those behind the leading brands featured in this discussion, are already transforming to meet the future through digitalization and tapping into expert global talent pools. In a recent executive roundtable conducted by The Hackett Group, a leader in business advisory, benchmarking, and transformation consulting services, and EXL, a leading data analytics and digital operations and solutions company, the value of Global Business Services (GBS) as an enabler to data-driven finance was discussed in detail. What follows is a recap of the discussion.

3. Automate according to priorities

Automation, as a scale-enabler, encompasses a broad array of solutions, including both off-the-shelf and bespoke tools and technologies. The question is, “Where do you begin?” Review your transformational roadmap. Determine what discrete components you need to create a minimum viable product (MVP) and expand from there. Consider what components can be reused in other areas of the organization. For instance, a reconciliation bot may be the ideal time-saver for financial operations, but with a little modification, IT can also use it to reconcile data files.

Another area to consider is generative AI. Generative AI is a technology that is here to stay and is already a useful tool in business (i.e., ChatGPT in front-end conversational applications). Its efficacy in other business areas is growing fast. You can effectively train the technology to support human efforts by uncovering new intelligence hidden within your data. For instance, a model can be trained on multiple sets of corporate data within an organization to help plan for various business scenarios.

Use cases such as this one are starting to sprout up in finance departments worldwide, and EXL is helping to successfully implement them. For instance, the featured media client cited experiments using generative AI to partially assemble timesheets based on departmental output.

The main caution (at least, at this point) is to validate the output for accuracy. With care, a bot can improve performance from 70% accuracy to 90% in a relatively short period of time. And, while a quality model may not do all the thinking for your people, it can ultimately compress the time and effort it takes to complete a process significantly.

Find out for yourself

To discuss your immediate transformation plans and explore how you can achieve a data-driven finance function now, contact us at