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CANDIS Manifesto for Modern Finance Teams

The world is changing. Digitalisation is advancing at breakneck speed and technological progress is proving to be a valuable competitive advantage for many a company.

Only the finance sector seems to be suffering from a lack of innovation, although the need for digital solutions is growing steadily here. Modernisation in finance is only proceeding at a slow pace. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that when it comes to growth and improvement, finance is often neglected compared to other areas of the company. In addition, there are scarce resources, little budget and conflicts in implementation.
We believe that the finance department is the heart of every business and we want to empower finance teams to stop leaving potential untapped.
Our manifesto is our answer to the question 'What will tomorrow's finance teams look like?' and describes the principles by which modern finance teams work.

Modern Finance Teams…

... make scanning superfluous

Every incoming paper invoice already exists digitally somewhere. Invoices are finally no longer handwritten, but created with the help of software. They are then printed out and sent. This media disruption not only causes an increased expenditure of time, but also makes the process slower and more prone to errors. Nowadays, this process is no longer necessary. Text information of a digital invoice usually no longer needs to be extracted, but only interpreted. The readout rate of modern OCR technology is much higher for digital invoices than for scanned invoices. Every scanning process must be organised in advance: in addition to a scanner, you also need employees who can regularly carry out the scanning process on site. The gap between the time the invoice is sent and the time it is scanned is often long. By the time the invoice is released, the actual business transaction has already taken place a long time ago.

... receive invoices centrally

Very few employees know how to handle an incoming invoice correctly and should therefore be taken out of the equation when receiving invoices. This means that invoices are no longer addressed to the e-mail addresses of individual departments or individual contact persons, but a uniform receiving address is used. All incoming invoices are collected centrally there. Alternatively, employees can be trained to release the invoices they (or their team) produce on their own. The most effective approach usually depends on the organisational structure and the size of the company.

Manifesto: wissen, worauf es bei einer Rechnung ankommt

... know what is important in an invoice

The more complete the invoice data, the fewer queries will arise. This means that in addition to the mandatory information, such as date of issue, invoice number or VAT number, as much additional information as possible should be recorded. Helpful details here include information on the ordering person and the cost centre. It is best to document these directly at the time of the order.
After all, any missing information means a potential query. In addition, the larger the organisation, the more difficult it is to interpret the incident retrospectively and to find the person responsible.

Manifesto: klären Rückfragen sofort

... clarify queries immediately

There are many problems with incorrect invoice data. The address is wrong, sometimes the date is missing or it is unclear where the invoice was posted. The sooner such questions are clarified, the better. The rule is: let as little time as possible pass between the business transaction and the queries.

If queries are only clarified at the end of the year, it is much more difficult to reliably process past incidents.

... understand process optimisation as part of their daily work

In most cases, the data flow is not yet fully integrated. Processes must therefore be continuously adapted and optimised to the changing inputs and outputs.
It is best to digitise directly at the source, i.e. the most important lever is at the very front of the process (e.g. invoice receipt). Further down the process, optimisation is usually still possible.

... make use of compliance synergies

When it comes to compliance, a conflict arises in many companies: usability vs. compliance. You could work more efficiently if it weren't for those annoying compliance requirements.
But this is a fallacy: in fact, compliance can create many synergies that, used correctly, represent a valuable opportunity. Digital invoices, for example, are much more legally compliant than scanned invoices, as there is no media discontinuity and readability is also significantly better. In general, digital processes are more compliant than analogue processes, not least because they are more transparent and traceable.
It is therefore important to use the right systems and to tackle the right processes. Compliance requirements should be seen as an opportunity to develop a new global mindset instead of trying to optimise only locally.

... book daily (Fast Close)

In the past, monthly posting made sense. After all, paper-based processes usually involve a lot of set-up time - collecting documents, manually typing data, organising and filing stacks of paper, and then sending out a full folder at the end. That takes a lot of time at first.

So monthly mapping was the norm for a long time, but it also came with some problems:

  • monthly crunch time (high effort within a few days)

  • asynchronous processes

  • clarification of queries difficult

Where possible, opportunities should be taken to complete preparatory tasks on a daily basis. This means, among other things, clarifying queries as early as possible, recording data promptly and carrying out the release quickly. If you work in this way, there is no good reason to wait until the end of the month for the final booking.
However, shortening the booking intervals to weekly booking does not solve the problems. Instead, the high effort days should be loosened up by introducing daily routine tasks. In this way, one is then able to book on a daily basis and prepare the BWA as quickly as possible.

... understand: modern finance means open books, collaboration & service

An 'open books' atmosphere requires above all that employees are given responsibility. To make this possible, internal company information, especially financial data, must be made accessible and, above all, understandable. Here it is important not only to communicate the legal requirements, but also to show employees the value of the information.

All employees who generate costs should also be understood as financial managers. Employees should be informed accordingly in order to be able to clarify any queries that may arise. Financial accounting is present everywhere in the company and should be related to a service concept.
Modern Finance is also collaboration: almost all problems that arise are connected in some way to another person or entity (supplier, team member or e.g. the tax consultancy). Collaborative working must be a priority here, both internally and externally.

Manifesto: setzen auf passgenaue Lösungen statt All-in-One Tools

... rely on customised solutions instead of all-in-one tools

For companies, the fundamental question is whether to use an all-in-one tool or a customised software solution. The size of the company is often the decisive factor, because all-in-one tools are often sufficient for smaller companies and are usually cheaper. However, when a company grows, the requirements change within a short period of time. In the worst case, all-in-one tools have to be completely replaced. This is not only expensive, but also time-consuming.
In larger companies, the processes are often so complex and multi-layered that they can be mapped using a custom-fit solution. Customised solutions can also often be better automated and integrated with other programmes. Compliance guidelines also require that GoBD-compliant interfaces between different software programmes are ensured.

The digital transformation is also increasing the demands of users. Especially in the private sector, we are now used to apps and software that are characterised by maximum user-friendliness and high levels of functionality. We therefore place the same demands on solutions in everyday working life.

Custom-fit solutions must therefore have various characteristics in order to meet requirements:

  • high depth of functionality

  • high degree of user-friendliness

  • high degree of automation

  • high level of integration

Fulfilling these characteristics 100% is difficult and in most cases, trade-offs have to be made here and there. Nevertheless, you are on the safe side with a custom-fit solution.

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